Former Oak Creek officer shot at Sikh Temple reflects on attack as 10th anniversary approaches

Brian Murphy took 15 bullets getting gunman out of the Sikh gurdwara – Photo: WISN videograb

By Joyce Garbaciak | WISN | United States |

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. — Next month marks 10 years since the attack on the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. In all, seven worshippers died — and more would have — if it weren’t for the bravery of an Oak Creek police lieutenant.

Brian Murphy has since retired from the force, but he recently sat down with WISN 12 News’ Joyce Garbaciak to reflect on the shooting and the changes the event brought to his life.

To see Murphy today, you’d never know how close to death he came. Critically injured in the line of duty, he works now to offer true empathy to other police officers also hurt on the job.

“Almost every officer who’s been involved in that feels like they’re out on an island all by themselves,” Murphy said. “And people say, ‘I know what you’re going through.’ But unless you were actually shot or stabbed in the line of duty, you don’t.”

Murphy now works for Armor Express, the company that made the bullet-resistant vest that helped save his life almost 10 years ago.

On Sunday morning, Aug. 5, 2012, Murphy responded first to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin with the Oak Creek Police Department after reports of an active shooter on the grounds.

The gunman, a white supremacist, came out of the temple when he saw Murphy arrive and confronted him in the parking lot. In the exchange of gunfire, Murphy was hit with 15 bullets. By getting the gunman out of the temple, Murphy saved many lives. After being shot by another officer, the gunman took his own life. He killed six worshippers that day; a seventh died later.

“I’m laying in the hospital and I’m watching the news and the president of the temple says, ‘We forgive him,'” Murphy said. “If they can forgive, and let’s not kid each other, I didn’t forgive spit. But I learned that I can’t change that. I can’t change that day. I can’t change him. But I’m not going to let him win by dictating my life because of what he did to me.”

Murphy received national recognition for his heroism, including being singled out by then-President Barack Obama during the State of the Union in 2013. But later that year, after 28 years in law enforcement, he retired from the force.

Now, the 60-year-old former police lieutenant travels the world, speaking at law-enforcement seminars about the temple shooting and post-traumatic stress.

Murphy will speak at a vigil on Aug. 5 of this year to mark the 10th anniversary of the temple shooting.

Read the full story here.


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