9/18/2014

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Fallen reserve officer honored with procession, vigil

Fallen reserve officer honored with procession, vigil

OREGON CITY, Ore. – Dozens of people holding candles sang Amazing Grace in unison Monday night after this community was ripped apart when a city reserve police officer was killed in the line of duty.

It was a somber night at Chapin City Park for those who knew reserve Officer Robert Libke. He was shot Sunday and died from his injuries Monday.

"Lord, I thank you for Rob," said Portland police volunteer Chaplain Jimmie Knodel, who led the vigil. "I thank you for his life and whatever good he's done in his life, his family, and even as he laid down his life for the cause of mankind, I do pray for his dear wife tonight and that little unborn baby."

Earlier in the day, police car after police car escorted Libke's body to the Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home as brothers and sisters in law enforcement made sure his journey there was fit for a hero. Those who didn't know him made sure of that, too.

"The law enforcement officers don't get the respect that they deserve," said Jim Jensen, who watched the procession. "They're putting their lives on the line every day for us. It was just a way to say thank you. That's all."

At Chapin Park, the community came together to grieve for the man who touched more lives than he ever knew.

"Our hearts go out to that mother, that wife and others in the family and our fellow policemen," said Knodel.

Libke's family was also there. Cousins who called him "Rob" were overwhelmed by all the love. They told those gathered they appreciated all the support.

During an afternoon news conference, Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley was overcome by emotion.

"We regret his passing. We want to thank all the officers for their service, and the risk they take on a daily basis," he said before his emotions cut his words short.

Police said the gunman, Larry Cambra, set his house on fire before his deadly confrontation with Libke. Cambra was also shot and killed.

Libke was a reserve officer, which is not the same as a regular police officer.

"(They're in the) reserves because they have lives and jobs and school and things like that," said Sgt. Neil Hennely with the West Linn Police Department. "They go two nights a week, typically, and Saturdays and some Sundays over the course of several months."

Hennely said reserves get the same training as regular officers. It just takes longer. He said it's a good way for an officer to start his career to see if it's a job he wants to continue to pursue.

Portland police officers and Clackamas County sheriff's deputies are at Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home and are staying with Libke's body.

A date for services has not been announced.

KATU News has learned that Libke's wife is expecting a baby.

The Clackamas County Peace Officers' Benevolent Fund is raising money for the family. You can donate at any Clackamas Federal Credit Union. Click here for more information.

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