An Oregon State Police trooper wounded in a Christmas night gunbattle was able to high-five his wife when he woke up from his first surgery, but he has more operations to go and a long road ahead to recover from his life-threatening injuries, authorities said Tuesday.
Trooper Nic Cederberg, 32, remained in critical condition at Oregon Health Sciences University, where he was undergoing a second surgery after the shootout that followed the discovery of a dead woman, OSP Capt. Bill Fugate told a news conference.
"We believe his intervention and risking his life in an unfolding situation on Christmas undoubtedly saved lives of members of the public and other police officers," Fugate said.
The captain declined to say how many times Cederberg was shot or to more precisely describe his injuries, citing the family's wishes. He did say the officer has been unable to speak since the shooting but had nonverbally communicated to his family: "I just did my job."
The department is optimistic about his recovery, Fugate said.
Police initially responded to a report of a shooting late Sunday in King City, where they found a woman's body — that of Kate Armand, according to her family. Police say a 30-year-old suspect, identified as Armand's husband, James Tylka, was seen driving away, and officers pursued him.
The chase ended with a shootout about 20 miles south of Portland. Tylka was killed.
"He wasn't the only hero on Christmas night," Fugate said. "The other troopers who rushed to his aid are also heroes. They absolutely risked their lives to end the incident and assist Trooper Cederberg."
Fugate declined to release more information about the shootout, which is the subject of an investigation.
Some details have emerged about Tylka's problems at home.
He was in a protracted dispute with his former wife, Sabrina Starks, over custody of their son and child support payments, according to court records. Starks wrote that they agreed to joint custody in May but he had been acting irrationally, impulsively and aggressively, constantly pressuring the boy for updates about what she was doing.
Court records indicate that Tylka and Armand had a baby girl.
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