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Wounded cop in Sikh temple shooting motions officers to keep helping victims

At least six people died after authorities say alleged gunman Wade Michael Page opened fire in a suburban Sikh temple, prompting some to go beyond the call of duty to prevent an even greater loss of life. NBC's John Yang reports.

He was shot multiple times, but that didn't stop Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy from signaling fellow officers to continue rescuing victims at Sunday's deadly rampage at a Sikh temple in southern Wisconsin.

Oak Creek Police Department via AP

Lt. Brian Murphy has served the Oak Creek Police Department for over two decades.

Police say they got the initial call about the attack at 10:25 a.m. Sunday. Murphy, 51, was among the first authorities to arrive on scene where suspect Wade Michael Page allegedly killed six people. The temple is located in the suburb of Oak Creek, Wis. about 11 miles south of Milwaukee.

Murphy was ambushed when he stopped to help a victim, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards told reporters Monday. He said that Murphy was shot eight to nine times with a handgun at close range. Though he was wearing a bullet-proof vest, Murphy was hit in his extremities and suffered a serious wound in his neck.

When officers went to check on Murphy, he signaled them to go into the temple to help other victims, Edwards said.

"He waved them off … and told them to go into temple to assist those in there," the police chief said.

Authorities in Wisconsin say the suspected gunman in the deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Wade Michael Page,  was the former leader of a neo-Nazi skinhead rock band.

The suspect was killed on the scene by another officer.

Murphy, a 21-year veteran of the Oak Creek Police Department, remained in critical condition on Monday in the hospital. He is expected to survive.

Oak Creek Mayor Stephen Scaffidi called Murphy's efforts "heroic actions in the line of fire."

"He helped to take down somebody that was intent on taking down lots and lots of people," Scaffidi told NBC News on Monday. "He thought about others before himself."

The mayor also said Murphy has been a part of the tactical squad for years and is the emergency management liaison for the city.

"I sat in a meeting with him three weeks ago and we talked about situations like this," Scaffidi said.

Former Oak Creek Police Chief Thomas Bauer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is not surprised by Murphy's heroic actions.

"He's a highly distinguished police officer, highly decorated," Bauer told the Journal Sentinel.

Murphy had been one of three finalists for the police chief's job after Bauer retired, according to the Journal Sentinel.

"He was willing to step up and take on the additional responsibilities and duties and keep that position in-house," Bauer told the Journal Sentinel. "He was certainly well-qualified to take on that role."

On Monday, there was already a growing Facebook group of Sikhs expressing "extreme gratitude" to Murphy.

"We are thankful to ALL the first responders and organizations that helped our community yesterday, but feel a SPECIAL thanks needs to go out to Lt. Murphy who is in critical care," wrote group creator Seema Singh-Dulai.

New York-based human rights group Sikhs for Justice said they are pledging a $10,000 award to Murphy, the Journal Sentinel also reported.


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