OAK CREEK, Wis. — The brave Brooklyn-born cop who was shot nine times during the Wisconsin temple massacre opened his eyes Tuesday and told the world he wasn’t dead yet.
“Hello,” Lt. Brian Murphy reportedly said.
That alone was enough to prompt quiet cheering in the intensive care unit of a Milwaukee hospital when the 51-year-old super cop remains in critical condition.
“He can recognize his family,” an Oak Creek police officer told The Daily News. “You have no idea the relief we are feeling.”
Murphy was shot Sunday by a frustrated neo—Nazi who had invaded a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee and slaughtered six worshipers with a legally purchased 9mm handgun.
FBI agents walk past the entrance to the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 7, 2012.
That tragedy was keenly felt in Richmond Hills, Queens, where there is a large Sikh community — and where many were praying for Murphy’s recovery.
“Officer Murphy, he said one word this morning, which is hello,” said Harpeet Toor, who said he’s been in constant touch with other Sikhs in Oak Creek. “So he’s still in critical condition, but he’s coming out of it.”
Murphy’s brother, Terry, who recently retired from the NYPD, was by his bedside at Froedtert Hospital, sources said.
Murphy’s return to consciousness was a hopeful sign, but the death-defying cop still has a bullet in his neck, sources said.
Murphy was the first officer to respond to the massacre when he was ambushed by Page. Badly wounded, he waved off officers running to his rescue and sent them to tend the wounded in the sanctuary.
“He was doing what a good leader would do,” former Oak Creek Police Chief Thomas Bauer said. “He knew precious time was wasting. He made a great decision to direct his men to take care of the threat.”
Page was shot and killed by another Oak Creek officer.
Murphy moved to the Midwest to be closer to his wife’s family. Before he became he cop, he was a Marine and worked as an embassy guard for the United Nations.
Bauer said they didn’t know what to make of the “big city boy” with the thick Brooklyn accent when he first joined their department in 1991.
“We thought, ‘What is the heck are you doing out of New York?’” Bauer recalled. “We had this diamond that was meant for a bigger stage.”
But Murphy quickly showed he was a “hell of an investigator,” said Bauer.
The FBI has not said why the 40-year-old gunman targeted the Sikh temple, but Page’s bigotry was no secret. He played guitar in a racist rock band and was well known in warped white power circles.
Page also knew guns — he’d served in the Army from 1992 to 1998, when he got a general discharge. That’s lower than an honorable discharge and it barred Page from reenlisting.
On Tuesday, Page’s former girlfriend, Misty Cook, 31, was arrested after an unregistered gun was found in her apartment, FOX News reported. Cops say she played no role in the massacre.
Source: The NY Daily News