OAK CREEK — Monday, September 10th was the first day we heard from Officer Sam Lenda, the Oak Creek police officer credited with taking down the Sikh Temple shooter, Wade Page.
By the time Officer Lenda arrived at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on the morning of Sunday, August 5th, Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy had already been shot. Dashcam video shows Lenda kept his focus and may have saved many lives in the process. Some say he’s a hero.
“Hero is heavy. I’m just an officer who did my job,” Lenda said during a Monday news conference in Oak Creek.
Lenda was the second officer on the scene.
“I saw the individual coming at me and it’s just something that I had a sense that this was not right. He was coming at me, and the way he was marching at me was in an aggressive manner,” Lenda said.
Lenda, a 32-year veteran, reacted quickly. He threw his car into reverse, got out his squad rifle (an AR-15) and took up a defensive position. Had Lenda hesitated just a few seconds, he may have been one of the victims.
One of the bullets Page fired ended up crashing through Lenda’s windshield and hitting the driver’s seat headrest, but that didn’t phase Lenda.
“I had a target, I acquired it, I isolated it,” Lenda said.
It was roughly 60 yards between Lenda and Page.
“We know that he was on a mission to cause havoc. He had to be stopped and that’s why I decided to shoot at that time,” Lenda said.
Lenda fired off six rounds. The second or third hit the suspect in the stomach. Police say that shot is what ultimately stopped Page’s attack.
Lenda rejects any special treatment from his actions. He said every officer that responded that day was equally heroic.
“No different than the other 200 some officers that responded that day. No better, no worse,” Lenda said.
Lenda was involved in another active shooting case in 2004. Officials referred to it as the “Comfort Suites” incident. The shooter in that case was Gregory Phillips.
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