A police officer, who was shot 12 times after being the first responder at the scene of a Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting in August, has found himself thanking God this Thanksgiving Day.
Officer Brian Murphy was shot a dozen times on Aug. 5 as he responded to an emergency call to 911. That incident claimed the lives of six other people who were worshipping at the temple that day, but amazingly Murphy survived the ordeal and this Thanksgiving is recovering and expressing his gratitude.
In an interview with WISN News Murphy has described in detail what he went through that day.
He has explained that he was the first to arrive on the scene and immediately exchanged fire with the gunman at the temple. But soon Murphy was shot in the face, in a wound that damaged his vocal chords. Although he then moved to take cover he was hit numerous more times by the shooter who relentlessly fired upon the officer.
He described, "It got quiet. It got very warm. Your eyes start getting a little bit heavy, and I thought, 'I'm not going out like this. I refuse to go out on a parking lot, not happening.'
"The shooter came around again, and he fired a bunch more times" Murphy added. "At one point-it was after he hit me in the back of the head-I just thought, is that not enough? Did you not shoot me enough times?"
In total the shooter fired 15 times at Murphy, hitting him 12 times with three bullets slamming into his bullet proof vest.
Murphy explained how he was conscious for the entire ordeal and did not pass out, but became focused on just breathing and staying alive.
"If you focus on the breathing, you're not going to panic. So that's what I did," he said.
Amazingly all the 12 bullets that hit Murphy missed vital organs, and Murphy believes that God saved him that day.
"For them to miss the important parts, there's something more to it than just luck. That's when I thought, it pays to be an altar boy. It pays going to Mass."
Murphy was finally able to receive attention when fellow police officer Sam Lenda arrived on the scene and shot the gunman. The shooter was later named as white supremacist, Wade Michael Page. After Page was shot he turned the gun on himself, taking his own life.
Many at the temple that day credit Murphy with saving their lives, as when he arrived on the scene the gunman stopped his massacre of those worshipping at the temple, turning his attention on the officer.
"Some of the worshippers had said once he saw me, he stopped and then left and came out to me. If we were there a minute later, it wouldn't have been six people who were slain, it would have been much more."
He added, "I still can't fathom why those particular people? Because the Sikh community, they're just a very close-knit group of people who are extremely kind and generous. They forgave him immediately."
This Thanksgiving Murphy remains on leave of duty, and is recovering from his injuries and undergoing physical therapy.