Wisconsin officers narrate Sikh temple shooting

(CBS News) OAK CREEK, Wisc. - On a bright Sunday morning in August, a man with a gun walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., and started shooting.

He killed six people and might have killed more, had it not been for two police officers.

In their first television interviews, Police Lt. Brian Murphy and Officer Sam Lenda recalled the horror of that day.

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It was 10:26 the morning when Oak Creek police got the first 911 calls.

"There is a guy in the church shooting with a gun," the dispatcher said.

Murphy arrived first at the Sikh temple. He found two bodies in the parking lot.

"I need an ambulance. I do not see a shooter anywhere," Murphy can be heard telling dispatchers in recordings from that day.

Just seconds after he arrived in the temple parking lot, he got out of the car and chased the gunman, Wade Michael Page.

"I moved forward and realized that, very quickly, that this is probably the guy that we're looking for," Murphy told CBS News, his voice raspy from his injuries.

Page, a white supremacist, was armed with a nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol.

"That's when he raised his gun and we probably shot close to the same time," Murphy recalled. "The first shot took me here. And that's why my voice is the way it is."

Surveillance video shows Page running toward Murphy, who is on the ground wounded and out of frame. Page shot Murphy 12 times.

"He shot me in the back of the skull," Murphy said. "As silly as it sounds, I thought to myself, 'Is that not enough?'"

Murphy said Page showed no emotion.

"I had expected there to be, like, most people, some kind of -- whether it's excitement or anger or something. But there was nothing," Murphy said.

About two dozen people were hiding in and around the temple when Officer Sam Lenda -- the best marksman on the force -- raced to the scene.

"I'm just stepping out here when the windshield explodes," Lenda explained, demonstrating on his police car. "I'm just stepping out here when the windshield explodes."

Lenda's dashboard camera shows a tense exchange. "Drop the gun! Drop the gun!" Lenda shouted.

"This is when I start firing at him. I hit him on the second round," Lenda explained, going through the events that day moment by moment.

Lenda hit Page at a range of 60 yards. The wounded gunman shot himself in the head.

Video from his police car's dashboard -- never-before seen publicly -- shows Lenda advancing on the gunman as more than two dozen people were still in danger.

"My thought was, 'If I can't shoot him, I'm gonna run him over, but he's not leaving this parking lot and he's not getting back inside the church," Lenda said.

"He was on a mission. I say, I confronted evil in the parking lot. And evil was not gonna leave there."

Murphy said it's not worthwhile to dwell on Page and his actions.

"He's dead. He's nothin'. The people who remain, the people who carry on, that's what's important," he said.

Murphy said he is lucky to be alive.

"I went to see the neurologist about the bullet stuck in my skull. And he just looked at all my X-rays and he said, 'That's a miracle,'" Murphy said. "You can call it divine intervention. You can call it dumb luck. I'll happily take either one."

Worshippers have returned to the Sikh temple. They say they have forgiven page. Murphy has more surgeries ahead. He's not sure if he'll ever rejoin Sam Lenda, but after surviving 12 bullets, anything is possible.

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.