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Lieutenant Brian Murphy and Officer Savan Lenda

City of Oak Creek Police Department, Wisconsin

On August 5, 2012, emergency calls were received from the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. The in-car video from Lieutenant Brian Murphy’s vehicle shows him entering the parking lot and stopping near two individuals who were later determined to be deceased. He immediately called for an ambulance and began scanning the area for the shooter(s).

The suspect subsequently exited the Temple’s main doors and was confronted by Lieutenant Murphy who began issuing commands.  The suspect immediately turned toward Lieutenant Murphy, and both simultaneously exchanged gunfire. Lieutenant Murphy was struck in the throat and retreated to a position of cover behind a nearby vehicle as the suspect continued to fire and run toward him.

While crouched behind the vehicle, Lieutenant Murphy looked out from cover in an attempt to locate the suspect. Seeing this movement, the suspect began shooting over the car’s hood, striking Lieutenant Murphy and causing him to lose his duty weapon. It was at this point that Officer Savan Lenda arrived on the scene.  The suspect then shifted his attention away from Lieutenant Murphy toward Officer Savan.

Not aware that the suspect had just shot Lieutenant Murphy, Officer Lenda repositioned his vehicle to try to locate the Lieutenant.  The suspect then returned his attention to Lieutenant Murphy and began shooting at him again.  Lieutenant Murphy tried to protect himself but was ultimately shot a total of 15 times, including a gunshot to the back of his head that stopped short of penetrating his brain. Only three rounds struck the body armor that he was wearing.

Officer Lenda, now armed with his squad rifle, moved toward the suspect. This action forced the suspect to focus his attention back toward the approaching officer and may have saved Lieutenant Murphy’s life. Officer Lenda began issuing commands for the suspect to drop his weapon. From approximately 70 to 80 yards away, the suspect began walking toward and firing at Officer Lenda. Officer Lenda returned fire and wounded the suspect, who collapsed to the ground where view of him was obstructed by a berm.

As additional officers arrived, Officer Lenda gave directions on the location of the suspect. An additional gunshot was heard, and it was later determined that the suspect had taken his own life with a gunshot to his head. Unaware at that point whether the suspect was shooting at the officers, or if there were other shooters, Officer Lenda began to drive toward the location where the suspect was last seen. After locating the suspect and determining that he was deceased, Officer Lenda then directed a search for Lieutenant Murphy.

The officers located Lieutenant Murphy and moved him back to his vehicle as Officer Lenda repositioned his vehicle to provide cover from other potential suspects in the Temple. It was at this point that individuals who had been in hiding emerged from the Temple.

The investigation revealed that the suspect had fired at least six rounds at women and children who were hiding in the pantry area of the Temple.  He discontinued his assault when Lieutenant Murphy arrived. It is felt that the actions of both Lieutenant Murphy and Officer Lenda saved an untold number of lives.

Media Release
"In Celebration of Seva: Our Community Gathers to Recognize Devoted Service to Humanity": United States Attorney Announces Commemorative Program as the Nation Observes the Second Anniversary of the Hate Crimes Violence at the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek.

CBOB Ceremony Agenda

Two people standing together at the Badge of Bravery awards ceremony and smiling at the camera
U.S. Attorney James L. Santelle with Officer Savan Lenda.
Two people standing together at the Badge of Bravery awards ceremony, holding an award between them, and smiling at the camera
U.S. Attorney James L. Santelle with Lieutenant Brian Murphy.