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Officer arriving at Sikh temple shooting: 'Time to use deadly force'

Oak Creek, Wis., police Chief John Edwards and Officer Sam Lenda narrate police video at a news conference that shows the final moments of the shooting that killed six worshippers at a Sikh temple.

Police in Oak Creek, Wis., on Monday released chilling dash-cam video taken during the effort to apprehend shooter Wade Michael Page at a local Sikh Temple on Aug. 5, after a rampage that left six worshippers dead.

The video and radio messages show that the police response was "textbook" quality, said Oak Creek police Chief John Edwards at a briefing where the videos were shown. The officers "took care of the situation very quickly, and ended it," Edwards said.


Page also died, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot after being hit by a police bullet.

The first video is taken from the squad car of Lt. Brian Murphy, who arrives two to three minutes after the first 911 call, and comes across victims in the parking lot outside the temple. By radio, he calls in the victims and says he does not see a shooter. As he heads to his car for protective gear, the shooter emerges from the temple and begins firing at him, prompting Murphy to dive behind some parked cars.

On the video, the shooter, identified as Page, begins moving one direction, and then reverses and circles around Murphy from behind.

"He moves with deliberateness" as he closes in on Murphy, Edwards said. "There’s no question in my mind that he intended to kill him."

The arrival of officer Sam Lenda minutes later, which is documented in a second dash-cam video, appears to distract the shooter, who begins walking toward Lenda’s squad car. Lenda said he saw the gunman reload or check his ammunition and then begin walking toward him.

Lenda takes cover behind his opened car door and begins shouting at Page to drop the gun. Page then begins shooting at Lenda, hitting the headrest on the car's driver's side.

He was marching in an aggressive manner," while continuing to fire, Lenda said at the briefing. After running through what he described as a "checklist" that was drilled in through years of training, Lenda returned fire.

"It was time to use deadly force," he said, "which is what I proceeded to do at that time."

Ballistics showed that Lenda’s bullet hit Page, bringing him down, said Edwards. But ballistics also suggested that the deadly shot was self-inflicted — a shot to the head that matched the 9 mm ammunition used by Page.

It was only after Page was neutralized that Lenda and other officers could attend to Murphy, who, it turned out had been shot more than a dozen times, according to Edwards.

Murphy was recently discharged from the hospital and is at home continuing his recovery.

"There’s no question in my mind that Lt. Murphy prevented the gunman from taking more lives," said Lenda.

Lenda agreed that his own arrival likely saved Murphy’s life, but added, "I’m just an officer who did my job."

Some aspects of the shooting, including Page's motive, remain under investigation.

Page was a former member of the U.S. army with close ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, according to reports that emerged shortly after the shooting. One theory is that the rampage was a hate crime aimed at Sikhs, a religion practices mainly by natives of India, or intended for Muslims, who are often confused with Sikhs.

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