UPDATED: 'Officer Down' Call During Sikh Temple Shooting Prompts Quick Greenfield Response
Greenfield Police Chief Brad Wentlandt briefed reporters throughout the day, and the Greenfield Fire Department was quickly on the scene at Sunday's Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek.
Updated 3:15 p.m. Aug. 6 with reaction from Greenfield Police Chief Brad Wentlandt
Several local police and fire departments responded to the tragic mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek on Sunday.
Among them were Greenfield’s.
“I went down to the command post to offer any assistance,” Wentlandt said. “(Oak Creek) Chief (John) Edwards said the one area he really needed assistance at that time, because they were engaged in the tactical aspects of the situations, was someone to wrangle the media.”
Wentlandt and two officers responded to Oak Creek after receiving a SMART call: suburban mutual assistance response team. While Wentlandt handled media requests, the officers took calls at the Oak Creek Police Department during the incident.
Wentlandt, whose department recently posted a Patch blog on active shooting situations, said police officers are prepared for mass shooting situations, but real-life is far different from training.
“There’s no way that any amount of simulation or training can prepare you for when it really happens every situation is different,” Wentlandt said.
Wentlandt called the efforts of Lt. Brian Murphy, the Oak Creek officer, who was shot 8-9 times and was in critical condition, "clearly heroic."
“The act of when you’re shot, waving officers away from you and telling them to go inside and help other people, he’s a hero,” Wentlandt said.
Fire Department among first on the scene
The Greenfield Fire Department was one of the first mutual aide partners to respond with ambulance support to the scene, according to Greenfield Police Chief Jon Cohn, who heard the call Oak Creek dispatchers put out about the shooting while sitting at his computer in his Hales Corners home.
“I didn’t think much of it at first, until I heard ‘officer down,’ and someone else says ‘shot multiple times,’” Cohn said.
Cohn said he immediately sent out a message to other fire chiefs in the area and called Greenfield Battalion Chief Shawn Hammernik, who was on call.
“I told him, get going; there’s people potentially injured and we should start moving toward the scene, and we did,” Cohn said.
Hammernik, a basic life support unit and a paramedic unit represented Greenfield on the scene. And though the department did not transport or treat any patients, Cohn said the support Hammernik provided to the Oak Creek police and fire department was important.
“The command structure is important, especially with as chaotic as these scenes are … you don’t know if it’s still an active scene of if the threat is confined,” Cohn said. “Shawn ended up playing a role as our units stood by.”
Police have confirmed that seven people, including the shooter, were killed Sunday, and dozens more were injured. Among the injured was a Oak Creek police officer, who was ambushed by the shooter. He was shot several times but is expected to recover.
“We send our condolences to the Sikh community and the city of Oak Creek, and hope for a speedy recovery for the police officer who was injured,” Cohn said.