OREGON CITY, Ore. – The family of an Oregon City police officer shot and killed in the line of duty thanked the community on Wednesday for the outpouring of support.
“Our family would like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the unbelievable acts of kindness and sacrifice by Rob's fellow officers, our friends, and many people who we may never meet in person to thank,” officer Rob Libke’s family said in a statement.
“Rob loved putting on the uniform and helping the police department serve their community. He will always be remembered in our hearts and minds as a dedicated husband and beautiful family man. We will miss him deeply.”
Many people have stepped up with offers of help, especially for Libke’s wife. Friends say she is six months pregnant with the couple’s only child and is now on bed rest.
On Thursday night, Libke's fellow officers attended a special Oregon City council meeting honoring the end of his watch. Behind the city council was a screen with Libke's picture and the words "Gone, but not forgotten."
Oregon CIty police chief talked emotionally about the help that came from other police agencies.
"People who know what the threat is, who know that somebody's aready been shot, and in spite of that while everyone's running away they're running to the scene as fast as they can to fix it, to make it OK for everyone who lives nearby to walk around and do what they do ... you're in good hands," he said.
Kaytee Horton is the wife of another Oregon City police officer and came up with a clever idea to raise some money for the Libke family. She’ll be holding a “zumbathon,” which is similar to a jogathon except with people doing Zumba instead of running.
Horton is a dance instructor and will hold the event on Nov. 24.
“Just whatever we can do. I believe the family has a great support system right now through each other, through the department. They’ve got somebody with them, helping them work through it,” Horton said.
Horton said police spouses think about the possibility of losing a husband or wife.
“It’s something that goes through hour minds and when it actually happens, a complete shock,” she said. “We can’t possibly imagine what the family is going through right now. We know money’s not going to fix it, it won’t make anything better, but it’s one less thing they have to worry about right now.”
A state commission will meet on Thursday to discuss providing Libke’s family with benefits from a fund set up to support the families of fallen officers. That includes a potential $25,000 payment, insurance, mortgage help and scholarships for Libke’s child.
Community members also donated food and other items on Wednesday to help the other first responders who helped treat Libke.
“It represents love, that we’re sending them our love and support even though we don’t know them personally,” said Will Olson, who dropped off some food. “We want to help them and want them to know the community is behind them.”
Community members can continue dropping off items at the Clackamas County Jail between noon and 12:30 on Thursday.
People can also donate to a fund set up to support Libke’s family. You can donate at any Clackamas Federal Credit Union branch.
Statement from Chief James Band:
"First, I want to thank the entire community for its overwhelming support of our department and our officers. I have come to the conclusion that the words "thank you" don't begin to accurately convey our gratitude. Our hearts, prayers, and support are with Officer Rob Libke's wife and family as they are dealing with this tremendous loss. I also want to thank every one of my officers and our public safety partners who responded on November 3, 2013. You have my thanks and support for your professionalism during an unimaginable crisis.
"During such incidents, officers are required to make split-second decisions that have tremendous implications. Such things have life-changing ramifications for people involved in every aspect of this case.
"A recent FBI study counted 15 officer deaths by ambush in each year of 2011, 2010 and 2009. The study said that ambush situations were the biggest category of circumstance behind 543 officers feloniously killed between 2002 and 2011 (23 %). During deadly-force encounters, officers are trained to balance the needs of saving injured people or first responders while ensuring no one else is killed in the process.
"I believe the responding officers took responsible actions under extremely dangerous circumstances to prevent further loss of life to other first responders and citizens in our community. They have my unwavering gratitude and support. I am confident that the investigation, ONCE COMPLETE, will provide the public with the accurate information they need to help them understand what occurred during this chaotic situation."
Statement from family of Ofc. Rob Libke:
"Our family would like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the unbelievable acts of kindness and sacrifice by Rob's fellow officers, our friends, and many people who we may never meet in person to thank. The community, Oregon City Police Department and their families, and many other departments are unselfishly giving their time and placing their lives on hold to help us get through this horrible time.
"Rob loved putting on the uniform and helping the police department serve their community. He will always be remembered in our hearts and minds as a dedicated husband and beautiful family man. We will miss him deeply."
"The family continues to ask for privacy during this difficult period."