Oak Creek shooting

Oak Creek Police Lt. Murphy's actions called 'heroic' during temple massacre

CREATED Aug 5, 2012 - UPDATED: Aug 6, 2012

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WAUWATOSA - Among the three injured victims in Sunday's massacre at the Oak Creek Sikh temple was Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy.

Lt. Murphy was the first police officer to arrive on scene and his actions are being called "heroic."

The 51-year-old lieutenant is still listed in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital Monday afternoon.

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi has known the man behind the badge for a long time.

"He's somebody that risked his life for the community," said Scaffidi.  "He's a fun guy.  He jokes around a lot.  A good sense of humor. I enjoyed interacting with him whenever we met around the city. "

On duty, Lt. Murphy is no stranger to tense situations.

In his 21 years with Oak Creek police, he led the tactical squad and emergency management efforts.

When shots rang out in his city Sunday, police say Lt. Murphy's training kicked in as he spotted a victim lying in the temple parking lot.

"He went to render aid.  It was at that point, he was met by the suspect, who basically ambushed him around his vehicle," said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards.

Authorities say Wade Michael Page opened fire -- shooting Lt. Murphy eight to nine times.

"On the surface, that's pretty grim.  It is, probably what saved him is his life vest, his flak jacket," said Scaffidi.

And the work of fellow officers who rescued Murphy, despite his calls to keep moving.  "He waved them off and told them to go into the temple, to help those in there," said Edwards.

From the hospital, Murphy's family released a statement, reading in part:

"As we stand by Brian and pray for his recovery, we extend condolences to the family of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident."

Friends and colleagues are hopeful the officer will pull through.

City leaders told TODAY'S TMJ4 that doctors believe Murphy will pull through.