Oak Creek, WI — Officer Brian Murphy was the first responder to the Sikh temple shooting on August 5 in which six worshipers were killed. He was shot 15 times — 12 to the body and three into his protective vest — and is currently on leave from the force, undergoing physical therapy and additional surgeries.
“I just do what you’re supposed to do,” Murphy told WISN 12 News. “And that should be reward enough.
Murphy believes he was spared because of where the shooting took place.
“I was protecting people who went in to worship God,” he said. “Maybe that assisted in whomever’s intervention to say, ‘No — you helped. And we’ll help you.’”
Murphy said he managed to remain conscious and calm the whole time by focusing on his breathing. Concentrating on his breath helped him not to panic.
WISN’s Joyce Garbaciak asked Murphy what he wanted to live for so badly.
“I have an amazing wife. I have beautiful stepchildren. I have an awesome daughter,” Murphy said. “And I thought, I’m not going like this.”
Murphy’s wife, Ann, said she wasn’t surprised her husband managed to stay so calm during the entire incident.
“I always knew since I met him that if something goes wrong, he’s the person that I want to be right next to because he’s very good in extreme situations,” Ann Murphy said.
Ann Murphy was running errands the morning of the shooting. She had sent her husband a text, but didn’t hear back from him. When she got home, one of the lieutenants from the police department was coming up her stairs.
“So I knew something had happened, but it’s Oak Creek. So I thought maybe a car accident, something like that,” she said. The lieutenant told her that her husband confronted a gunman at the Sikh temple and been shot.
“I will be forever grateful how he was able to get me through those first few minutes because he was able to tell me that Brian had been shot in the throat without me completely losing it,” she said.
Police officer Sam Lenda shot at the gunman, white supremacist Wade Michael Page, who committed suicide after being shot.
Murphy said the Sikh community had forgiven Page, but that he never thought about forgiving him.
My forgiveness has no bearing on the matter,” Murphy said. “And honestly I give him the least amount of thought possible. I don’t want to give him any more power than he already took. I just don’t. He doesn’t deserve it.”
Murphy’s focus is instead on recovering from his injuries. He undergoes physical therapy twice a week, and will be receiving additional procedures on his voice box and thumb in the future. He said some good did come out of the shooting.
“Think about it,” Murphy said. “If I can get through that, there’s really nothing else I can’t get through.”