Newly-released video from Oak Creek squad cars provide the clearest picture to date about what happened after officers responded to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Aug. 5.
Officials at a Monday news conference said the footage shows how the first officers at the scene likely saved lives by arriving quickly and providing a "textbook" response after years of training for an active shooter.
The video shows Police Lt. Brian Murphy arriving to aid two victims in the parking lot, not yet aware that gunman Wade Michael Page is still inside. Murphy then sees Page walk out to the parking lot, orders him to drop his weapon, and falls to the ground after absorbing a bullet to the throat.
Page then jogs toward Murphy and begins firing round after round. Police Chief John Edwards announced Monday that Murphy was shot a total of 15 times, with three bullets hitting his vest — not eight or nine times as . Some of the shots came from as close as 10 feet away, District Attorney John Chisholm said.
The video also shows Officer Sam Lenda backing up his vehicle when he sees Page walking toward him so that he could arm himself with a rifle.
"As I pulled up, I saw the individual coming at me. This was something that I sensed was not right … the way he was marching at me was in an aggressive manner," Lenda said. "It wasn't someone raising their hands asking for help."
Lenda and Page exchanged fire, with Lenda firing six rounds at Page and Page sending at least one bullet through the squad car windshield — exactly where Lenda would have been sitting had he not left the vehicle.
It appears Lenda hits Page on his second shot, from about 60 yards away, bringing him to the ground.
"We know he was on a mission to cause havoc," Lenda said. "He had to be stopped."
The final moment of the video is that of the last shot fired, by Page, to himself. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, moments after officers are heard trying to determine whether Page is moving.
However, officers who heard Page's shot didn't know it was at himself, so they took flanking positions and prepared for more gunfire, Edwards said.
Page was walking toward his car, which was in the southwest corner of the parking lot, before his shootout with Lenda. Lenda and other officers arrived so quickly they may have saved Murphy's life and prevented Page from escaping, officials said.
But Lenda, whom Edwards said is known throughout the region for his extensive training, said in the news conference he's not sure about the "hero" label. He said he's just happy he can finally go back to work.
"Hero is heavy," he said. "I'm just an officer who did his job, no different than the 200-some officers that responded" to the shooting.
Lenda has served as on the department's Selected Marksman Unit for 14 years, and trains Oak Creek police officers and Milwaukee Area Technical College students on firearms.
The way the 32-year veteran of the Oak Creek Police Department responded Aug. 5 was "textbook," Edwards said.
"Sam was spot on with all these decisions," he said.
The has heavily trained for active shooters in the past decade — ever since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, Lenda said.
It's the second time they have responded to one. The first came in 2004 at the Comfort Suites, when a man killed his girlfriend and a bystander, wounded two others and took a hostage.
"The second one for one city. It's mind-boggling to me," Lenda said.
Lenda said in the days after the shootings, he has utilized employee-assistance programs and reached out to fellow church members and police officers across the state and country for support.
He also met with victims' families at the community vigil .
The video was shown once during the press conference uninterrupted and a second time with comments from Lenda, Edwards and Chisholm.
The FBI investigation into Page and the Sikh temple shooting is still ongoing. But a separate investigation by the DA's office into the officer-involved shooting, which is standard after all such incidents, is complete.
"The videos, from my perspective, are compelling evidence showing that Lt. Murphy and Officer Lenda were both justified and privileged in their use of force," Chisholm said.
"Beyond that, the courageous and timely actions were necessary to prevent further tragedy."
Mayor Steve Scaffidi added, "As you view the video I think you'll agree that our police officers handled themselves in a professional and heroic manner. I've seen it several times. I have that impression as well."