Officer killed, police chief critically injured in bank explosion

Officer killed, police chief critically injured in bank explosion »Play Video


WOODBURN, Ore. - A Woodburn police officer was killed in an explosion at a bank Friday evening that also seriously injured the city's police chief and an Oregon State Police bomb technician.  A bank employee ended up with minor injuries as well.

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Law enforcement officials announced the fatality late Friday night, several hours after an explosion rocked a West Coast bank branch located in the 2500 block of Newberg Highway (Highway 214).  Earlier in the evening, only injuries had been reported. 

The only victim who has been identified is Chief of Police Scott Russell, who has been with the Woodburn Police Department since 1988.  He was critically injured and is being treated at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

According to the Oregon State Police, Woodburn police, with the assistance of the FBI and an Oregon State Police Bomb Technician, were investigating a suspicious device at the bank when it detonated. 

Earlier in the day, law enforcement officials had responded to a report of a threatening call at a Wells Fargo bank branch next door.  Bank employees were evacuated from the building and a suspicious package was found. 

The bank president said the package was brought inside of the West Coast Bank at some point.  It was unclear why the device was moved from one bank to another.

Technicians apparently scanned the bomb and found nothing but then it went off.

"And I just heard that boom and got up and went running outside," said Bob Currie, who lives nearby.

A description of the device has not been released.  Police did not believe there were any other devices but they planned to keep the area cordoned off to be safe.

"We're just trying to be as safe as we can with the scene to let our investigators do the best job they can do," said Sheriff Russ Isham with the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Traffic Alert

Highway 214 between Interstate 5 and Settlemeir Avenue in Woodburn is closed and will likely stay closed throughout the weekend for the investigation, which involves several agencies. 

Motorists are advised to plan alternate routes.