Governor Beverly Perdue has ordered all United States and North Carolina flags lowered in tribute to the victims of the Wisconsin shooting.
Seven people, including the suspected shooter, were killed Sunday in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
"This tragic loss underscores the importance of respect for all faiths and beliefs, a unique foundation of our nation that has made us so strong," Gov. Perdue said.
In addition to flags at state facilities, Perdue asked citizens and local governments to fly their flags at half-staff through sunset on Friday out of respect for the victims.
Authorities have evacuated parts of a neighborhood and are searching a home in a Milwaukee suburb northeast of the Sikh temple where an unknown gunman killed six people Sunday.
Officers have roped off four blocks in a neighborhood with a mix of duplexes and single-family homes in Cudahy, about six miles from the temple.
The owner of one of the duplexes says authorities are targeting his property. Kurt Weins says authorities haven't told him why they're searching his duplex or whether it's related to the shooting. He says he rented the duplex's upper unit to a man about a month ago. He wouldn't identify the tenant.
Milwaukee County sheriff's spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin says the department's bomb squad also on the scene, but has no details about why it was called.
The police chief of a Wisconsin city where a gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple says the suspect "ambushed" one of the first officers to arrive at the scene as the officer tended to a shooting victim.
Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards says the suspect shot the officer multiple times outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday morning. A second officer then exchanged gunfire with the suspect and fatally shot him.
Edwards says the officer who was ambushed is undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital and is expected to survive.
Police earlier said the officer who was shot had killed the gunman, but released updated information later Sunday afternoon.
Police in Wisconsin say seven people are dead at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, including the suspected gunman.
Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt says tactical officers have been through the temple where shots were fired about 10:30 a.m. Sunday. He says they found four people inside the building and three people outside.
He says one of those killed outside is the suspect, who fired on the first officer to arrive. Wentlandt says that officer fired back, killing the suspect. He says the officer is now at an area hospital in surgery.
Wentlandt says police do not believe a second shooter was involved.
He also says the best information he has is that two people, including the officer who was shot, were taken to hospitals.
Authorities are on the scene Sunday of shootings at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, where police and witnesses described a chaotic situation with an unknown number of victims, suspects and possible hostages.
Police were called to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in the suburb of Oak Creek on Sunday morning, when witnesses said several dozen people were gathering for a service. They responded with a dozen ambulances, although Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt said it wasn't clear how many people had been shot.
Wentlandt also said it wasn't clear how many suspects were involved, although one opened fire on an officer and the officer "put down" that man. Wentlandt said the officer was shot multiple times but expected to survive.
He described the scene as chaotic and fluid and urged the media not to broadcast photos or video showing tactical units, which could put officers in danger.
Three shooting victims, all men, were taken to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, the main trauma center for the area, spokeswoman Carolyn Bellin said. One was in the operating room, another in a surgical intensive care unit and the third was being evaluated in the emergency room, she said.
Sukhwindar Nagr, of Racine, said he called his brother-in-law's phone and a priest at the temple answered and told him that his brother-in-law had been shot, along with three priests. The priest also said women and children were hiding in closets in the temple, Nagr said.
Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in bias attacks since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the U.S. since 9/11, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Sikhs don't practice the same religion as Muslims, but their long beards and turbans often cause them to be mistaken for Muslims, advocates say.
Sikhism is a monotheistic faith that was founded in South Asia more than 500 years ago. It has roughly 27 million followers worldwide. Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair; male followers often cover their heads with turbans - which are considered sacred - and refrain from shaving their beards.
There are roughly 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S., according to estimates. The majority worldwide live in India.
A police dispatcher in Wisconsin says there has been a shooting at a Sikh temple outside of Milwaukee.
Oak Creek Police Department dispatcher Stephanie Uljanec says the shooting took place Sunday morning at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin but she doesn't know how many people are shot or if there are fatalities.
Officials reported that an officer was called to the scene this morning and engaged an active shooter. The officer was shot multiple times but is expected to survive. The shooter was also shot and is down on the scene. Officials say at this time, they do not know if there are additional shooters inside the temple. Officials did not give a victim count.
A spokeswoman for Froedert Hospital, the main trauma center in the Milwaukee area, has told CNN that two men have been taken there and the hospital is ready to receive more.
There are more than a dozen ambulances parked outside the temple, and police have corralled media and a handful of bystanders to an area near the temple.
Oak Creek is south of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan.
According to online information, the Sikh religion is from South Asia and separated from Hinduism in the 16th century. The religion has ties to the Punjab area, which is in northern India and eastern Pakistan.
(Copyright 2012 WITN and Associated Press.)