Just more than 24 hours after the tragic , stories of heroes are emerging as details from the incident are revealed.
When an unintelligible call came into the Oak Creek Police Department from a person inside the temple, 21-year department veteran Lt. Brian Murphy entered his squad and was first to the horrific scene just four minutes later.
Murphy immediately came upon a wounded victim in the parking lot of the temple, and rushed to assist the person. At that moment, Murphy found himself in a situation most officers will only have to prepare for in their careers.
While he was helping the victim, the 51-year-old officer was ambushed by the shooter — now identified as — and was fired upon at close range while Murphy attempted to disarm him. Murphy was struck eight or nine times by bullets delivered from Page’s 9mm, semi-automatic handgun.
Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said bullets struck Murphy’s extremities and he was also shot in the neck.
When other officers arrived Murphy — wounded and bleeding in the parking lot — refused help from his fellow officers and instead directed them to help the victims inside the temple, Edwards said.
The officers, armed with tactical rifles, refused to leave a fellow officer behind and brought Murphy to safety before shooting and killing Page outside the temple.
“Clearly heroic,” said Greenfield Police Chief Brad Wentlandt, who served as the public information coordinator from the scene of the shooting Sunday. “The act of when you’re shot, waving officers away from you and telling them to go inside and help other people, he’s a hero.”
As of Monday, Murphy is still in critical condition after undergoing life-saving surgery at Froedtert Hospital. He is resting with family at his side. Understandably, Murphy's family declined to receive questions from the media, but released a statement during a press conference held at the hospital Monday afternoon.
“We are grateful for so many who addressed Brian’s needs at the scene and continue to do so at the hospital," Murphy's family said in a statement. "As we stand by Brian and pray for his recovery, we extend condolences to the families who lost loved ones."
Murphy’s act of heroism has already received recognition from the Sikh Human Rights Group, which has pledged a $10,000 award to the officer. Although courageous, United States Attorney James Santelle said Murphy’s act of valor is not unusual for the men and women dedicated to protecting the innocent.
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“Know that that kind of dedicated law enforcement is not atypical…this is what we expect from law enforcement in this country, and that’s what this nation gets,” Santelle said.
Murphy has been an tactical team leader for years. In 2010, he was one of three candidates — along with Edwards — for the position of police chief.
Murphy grew up in New York and joined the Marines, and served at the United Nations.
Oak Creek resident Michael Williams described Murphy as a brave man who is extremely loyal to friends and family.
"He was a very dedicated officer and family man. Me and my family have spent many days with his family," Williams said via the Oak Creek Patch Facebook page. "There is so much more great things about this great brave man, and doesn't surprise me that he put the other victims in front of himself."
A Facebook page to honor Murphy's selfless act has been set up for others to share their thoughts about his heroism on Sunday. Here's a look at what people are saying about Murphy on social media outlets.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele asking the community to keep Murphy in everyone's thoughts and prayers as he travels the road to recovery.
“I continue to keep Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy and other victims still at the hospital in my thoughts, as well as members of the Sikh community during this time," Abele said. "We encourage everyone to show their solidarity with the Sikh community. As we continue to learn the details of the investigation, I would like to also thank the First Responders for their life saving actions."
Patch is continuing to reach officers and family to learn more about Murphy. If you want to share information, contact Carl Engelking at firstname.lastname@example.org.