WOODBURN, Ore. — Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies said the crime scene at Saturday’s quadruple killing near Woodburn was gruesome and grotesque. Some are calling it the worst they've ever seen.
Although no gun was used in the killings, several different weapons were recovered by detectives at the home. Clackamas County Sgt. Brian Jensen said the scene was horrific.
“It's like something they have never seen before, and you know these are deputies and detectives and investigators who go to car crashes that can be hard to look at, and they're saying that this does not even compare to those.”
Deputies said 42-year old Mark Gago brutally killed his parents, girlfriend and his 9-month-old daughter. Investigators said he was about to kill a 8-year-old girl when deputies shot and killed him.
Jensen said sometimes deputies see things that are hard to forget.
“This is a gruesome, brutal murder scene and sometimes our eyes see things that our hearts cannot handle, and I think that is what happened here to a lot of people.”
Because of that, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is now offering peer-mentor support to any deputies who may be having a hard time dealing with what they saw at the scene. The counseling is also available to any detective or investigator and their families.
Officers who need help are assigned a "peer support member" specifically trained to spot coping problems that officers may have. That support also includes employee assistance and chaplain services, which provides 25 chaplains across 30 agencies in northwest Oregon.
Five deputies and one sergeant are on paid administrative leave after the incident, which is standard law enforcement procedure.
Jensen says dealing with the aftermath of such a horrific crime can have a lasting impact on those who witnessed the scene.
“We are not wired to see these things. Fortunately for us we have people in our society, like our deputies and our investigators, that will go in there and do a good job. It's the aftermath. It’s 'how do we take care of these people now when we know that's not normal?'”
Donations for chaplain services can be made here.