Sikh-Americans to honour saviour of Oak Creek shooting

Washington, April 9: US police officer Brian Murphy, who was struck with 12 bullets during the Aug 5, 2012 shooting at the Sikh gurudwara in Wisconsin, will be honoured by Sikhs in Washington on Vaisakhi Day (April 13).

Murphy, the first Oak Creek (Milwaukee) police officer on the scene of shooting that left six worshippers dead and three others wounded, will be presented with a Sewa (service) Award by Washington-based community organisation Guru Gobind Singh Foundation.

The white supremacist gunman, Wade Michael Page, killed himself after he was wounded by a rifle shot from Murphy.

Murphy, 52, has recovered from his wounds but has no feeling in his right forearm and leg and has limited use of his left thumb because of the injuries he suffered.

Murphy is travelling with his family from Wisconsin to attend the honouring ceremony at a Gurdwara in Rockville, Maryland, a Washington suburb, on Vaisakhi Day, an important day for all Sikhs, the foundation announced.

The foundation gives the Sewa award annually to someone to recognising their spirit of sewa (service) and contributions towards the Sikh community.

Inder Paul Singh Gadh, the foundation chairman said the Sikhs are highly grateful to Murphy “for his sacrifice and exemplary service and providing protection to all citizens of Oak Creek”.

“His actions were able to deter much bigger massacre of Sikhs who were still trapped inside the gurdwara,” he said.

Murphy “reflects the Sikh concept of Chardhi Kala, which is to remain in high and positive spirit even in the face of challenges and tragedies in life,” said Rajwant Singh, foundation secretary and chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.

“I try to teach my law enforcement students about Chardi Kala and the faith and divinity of the Sikh faith,” wrote Murphy in his acceptance letter to the foundation.

Praising the Sikh community’s interaction with him since the tragedy, he wrote: “On Aug 5th, I met people who were at their worst moment in life. And I was able to at least help them as best I could.

“I don’t know if it made a tremendous difference to everyone there, but it made a tremendous difference to me because I got involved with a community that has been nothing short of amazing.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

IANS