Officer’s that have survived deadly encounters have a unique perspective, and noteworthy stories to tell.
While attending the Bulletproof Mind Seminar in Fort Worth, I met Misty McBride who was shot three times in downtown Dallas the night five were killed and nine wounded; Houston Gass, who lived after receiving a shotgun blast to the face during a domestic dispute; Matt Pearce, who was ambushed and had his body riddled with lead in Fort Worth earlier this year; and Greg Stevens who shot and killed two terrorists in Garland, Texas in May of 2015.
While preparing the article, Hero911, I was introduced to Lt. Brian Murphy. He is a former Oakcreek, Wisconsin police lieutenant who was the first on scene during the August 2012 Sikh Temple massacre that left six people dead from a ruthless killer who methodically and systematically plotted the attack.
Lt. Murphy arrived on scene after being notified of the incident, and while awaiting his backup officers to arrive was shot a total of 15 times (plus two rounds that struck his body armor) as the killer was attempting to flee.
Paraphrasing the words of each hero, they said, “I didn’t choose the event, it chose me.”
Chew on that for a minute if you’re a fellow sheepdog. We work in a business where tragedy finds us and we need to rise to the occasion!
Life has been anything but easy for Brian Murphy since 2012. His body was struck 15 times by rounds fired from a Springfield Amory XD, 9mm, with 147-grain ammunition. It took an accountant to tally the wounds. If you ask him where he was hit, “Everywhere except my ears and feet,” he good-naturedly replied.
Lt. Murphy remembered thinking after being hit so many times, When is enough, enough. “It would have been apparent to him how many times he shot me,” Brian said, “So yeah, I thought to myself,” Oh come on now, that’s enough.
“Lingering injuries” is woefully inadequate trying to explain his medical condition. His spine has been fused, he lost half his thumb, while his flesh took on the appearance of Swiss cheese. He still carries a bullet in his neck and one in his skull. His vocal chords have been sheered making conversations and breathing difficult, but he cheerfully spoke to me for nearly an hour.
Regardless of his circumstances, I asked him for a few things he was thankful for knowing this article would be featured Thanksgiving Day.
Without hesitation he replied “family,” but he categorized three variations:
- Biological family – “I wouldn’t be here without them. Especially my wife Ann. … Being there through everything. … She had to learn how to insert and remove my trachea tube. She means the world to me. … We looked for new goals in life.”
- Family in blue – “I am blessed by guys at work and a chief dedicated to training. Without constant training, pushing hard, reinforcing the will to survive was so important to me. … You can’t do everything by yourself. We need each for support. … The support network transcends everything.”
- Family at the Sikh Temple – “They were so overwhelmingly generous. … So positive. … Everyone should visit one in your community if they are there. Embrace them as they looked out for me.”
Then came an insightful disclosure. “I’m thankful it happened to me and not any of my people,” he said. “I love all my guys.”
Spoken like a true servant-warrior with a leadership philosophy worth adopting.
His bio from the Guard911 website reads like this:
Lt. Brian Murphy is a national speaker and former SWAT team member and speaks on valuable seconds lost are lives lost during these acts of workplace violence. Lt. Murphy was cited during the President of the United States “State of the Union Address” and now speaks nationwide to diverse groups and helps open the eyes of all who fall into the world of denial and believe “it won’t happen here.”
Like so many past and present SWAT team members, he emphasized the importance of training during our conversation. “Being ready … preparation is so important. … Even with budget cuts, a person can still train on their own time.”
Indeed they can Lt. Murphy. Your survival is a testament to the wisdom you’ve acquired. Thank you for passing it along. Today, I am thankful for you, Misty McBride, Houston Gass, Matt Pearce, and Greg Stevens along with so many others willing to share their story!