Oak Creek Officer Lenda doesn't consider himself a 'hero' for helping end temple shooting
WTMJ News Team
Cody Holyoke reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
OAK CREEK- The man who shot Wade Michael Page during the massacre at the Sikh temple talked about that fateful day for the first time.
A 32-year veteran of the Oak Creek Police Department, Officer Sam Lenda had no idea about the danger that stood before him that day. The sight of the gunman sent the longtime tactical officer into action.
"I had a sense that this was not right. He was coming at me, and the way he was marching at me was an aggressive manner," explained Lenda at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Lenda did what he was trained to do -- backing away to unlock his assault rifle before driving back into danger.
"It goes very slow. Things slow down in real life. There's a million things that go through your mind at that time, and you work through it," said Lenda.
The skilled marksman yelled for Page to stop.
A bullet ended up in the headrest of Lenda's squad car -- too close for comfort. At that time, the officer knew what had to be done.
"No other things would work. It wouldn't be advisable for me to use a taser or pursue this gentleman, it was time to use deadly force, which I was privileged to do at that time."
One of Lenda's shots took Page down, disabling him and effectively ending the shooting spree.
Despite all this, the man won't take much credit for his actions.
"Hero weighs heavy. I'm just an officer who did my job, no different than the 200 or so officers that responded that day. No better, no worse."
Officer Lenda has yet to return to duty pending the outcome of an investigation of what happened that day. That is routine in these types of situations.
After everything that happened, he's anxious to get back to work.