WINDSOR TERRACE — Windsor Terrace in the 1970s was the kind of close-knit community where people looked out for each other. Now some locals are carrying on that tradition for a neighborhood native, even though he's almost 900 miles away.
Windsor Terrace residents will hold a benefit Saturday night at Rhythm and Booze bar for Lt. Brian Murphy, the cop who was shot nine times when a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. in August, killing six people.
Murphy, a 21-year veteran of the Oak Creek police department, grew up in Windsor Terrace and graduated from Immaculate Heart of Mary school on Fort Hamilton Parkway in 1975. He's now at home in Wisconsin recuperating from his injuries. The Saturday night benefit, first reported by Patch, will help pay for his ongoing medical costs, organizers said.
Murphy, the first cop to respond to the shooting, was hailed as a hero by the Sikh community. One of the people organizing the Rhythm & Booze benefit, Claudia Santino, said she was inspired by that outpouring.
"We were blown away by the support he got from the Sikh community, and we wanted to rally behind him as a neighborhood and pay our respects," Santino, who attended Immaculate Heart at the same time as Murphy, said.
Another of the fundraiser's organizers is Michael Cleary, who also attended Immaculate Heart and now works as a cop in Windsor Terrace's 72nd Precinct. The benefit is a natural extension of Windsor Terrace's small-town atmosphere, he said. He remembers the neighborhood as a "tight" community where kids would stop playing games in the street to help moms carry home groceries.
"It's the way we were brought up," Cleary said. "We were brought up to respect everybody and keep an eye out for everyone."
Santino said she doesn't know Murphy that well, but she and other Windsor Terrace natives wanted to do something to support him, because he's part of the "old crew." The group tries to get together regularly for reunions, she said, and last met up at a farewell celebration for Immaculate Heart in June, before the school closed.
"When you hear about something like this happening, instead of it being something that sets you apart, it makes you realize how connected we all are," Santino said of the Sikh temple shooting. "We hope that people from the neighborhood, even people who are new to the neighborhood, will turn out. If you can come out and turn out for someone you don't even know, we're not such strangers to each other."
The benefit for Lt. Brian Murphy is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 20, at Rhythm & Booze, 1674 Tenth Avenue. Tickets are $50 each and include food and drink. RSVP to Michael at mecsec4 @aol.com. People who can't attend can mail donations.