Woodburn rallies after police shooting

Woodburn rallies after police shooting


by Mike Benner

Bio | Email | Follow: @MikeBennerKGW


Posted on April 1, 2010 at 6:27 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 1 at 3:38 PM

WOODBURN, Or - The Woodburn police and community are rallying together after the officer-involved shooting that injured Sergeant John Mikkola.  It comes about 15 months after a bombing claimed the lives of two law enforcement officers.

"We're on a roller coaster," said longtime resident Deb Yager.  "We scream on the way up and hold on for the way down."

More: Officer and suspect wounded in Salem  / Photos of shooting scene

Yager dropped off sandwiches at the police department to lift the spirits of the men and women in uniform.  It has been a rough 24 hours.  Late Tuesday night a burglary suspect was accused of shooting and injuring Sergeant John Mikkola (pictured in photo above), a 12-year veteran with the police bureau.

"He's doing well," said Sergeant Jason Tlusty.  "Everybody that's talked to him and has seen him said he's his old self."

The officer-involved shooting came about 15 months after a bank bombing.  That blast killed a police officer and a bomb technician and seriously injured the police chief. 

Background: Woodburn bank bombing

"Everyone thinks it's going to happen in the big cities and a lot of the time it doesn't happen in the big cities," said Tlusty.

It just so happens it was Sergeant Mikkola who put duty before self and raced into the shattered building to save the police chief's life.  He was later honored as a hero in the community.

"That reflects well on the men and women of the Woodburn Police Department," said Tlusty.

Those same men and women were rallying for Mikkola, along with the very people he serves to protect.

"It's heartwrenching," said Cindy Wurdinger-Kelly.  "Right away this morning the phone's ringing with people sending flowers."

Wurdinger-Kelly is the owner of Valley Pacific Floral.  She has been haunted by three questions.  "I thought, why us? Why Woodburn? Why again."

It has both police and residents seeking a return to normalcy. 

"They more than deserve their break," said Mark Madsen.