On November 3 2013 Officer Libke, 41, was shot in the head by the 88-year-old suspect while helping respond to reports of a house fire with an armed subject at 841 Linn Avenue in Oregon City.
The suspect had set fire to his own home following a violent argument with his partner in which the suspect told her he was going to kill her, burn the house down and kill himself. The partner was able to escape by spraying the suspect with mace.
After arriving at the fire scene, OCPD Officers Jared Turpin and Sean Ellis contacted subjects near the driveway entrance to the suspect's now-burning home. After exiting Officer Ellis' patrol vehicle, Officer Libke began walking north with Officer Ellis, then returned alone to investigate along Eastfield Drive. Officer Libke then saw the suspect on the other side of the fence at 845 Linn Avenue (the house next door to the suspect's burning house), drew his weapon, approached the back fence of 845 Linn Avenue (located along the north side Eastfield Drive), and gave the suspect commands to drop his gun. The suspect then shot Officer Libke in the head.
The shooting occurred approximately 1 min. 12 seconds after Officer Libke first exited the patrol car.
As detailed in the timeline below, law enforcement responded en masse to the scene -- evaluating multiple reports from witnesses to identify the suspect and systematically evacuating the area while narrowing their search for the suspect, who had only been seen at that point by Officer Libke. Multiple officers and deputies took positions to assess Officer Libke's condition, failing to see visible signs of life, as other first responders cleared the area and searched for the armed suspect.
The suspect was sighted in a detached, unfinished garage at 845 Linn Avenue. SWAT approached the garage, saw signs of life from Officer Libke, and established cover to retrieve Libke so SWAT medics could begin treatment and transport him to Life Flight. Meanwhile, SWAT personnel fired on the suspect after he approached and raised his weapon, ignoring commands to surrender. The suspect was hit three times -- twice by SWAT and once by himself after he turned his handgun on himself. The Medical Examiner determined that he died of his self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officer Libke was transported by Life Flight to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. He died as a result of his injuries on Nov. 4.
Officer Libke was posthumously awarded the Medal of Ultimate Sacrifice by the Governor's Commission on the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor, as well as the Oregon City Police Medal of Valor, Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Award, and Chief's Medal of Merit.
Wendy Libke issued the following statement:
"The support from the community has overwhelmed me and my family. As we are working through the many difficult aspects of this tragedy, we have felt the love and support from the thousands of people who have reached out in so many thoughtful ways. I love and miss my husband and friend. Your support and honor of Rob has meant the world.
"I would like to thank the media for being so respectful of my space. It has allowed me to focus on grieving and ensuring our baby is healthy. The doctors have told me that our baby is healthy and we are looking forward to her finally coming into our lives. I will release a photo of her once she arrives, through the Oregon City Police Department."
Those wishing to donate to assist Oregon City Officer Robert Libke's family can do so as follows:
- Stop at any branch of Clackamas Federal Credit Union. Donations are to the Clackamas County Peace Officers' Benevolent Foundation into the Officer Robert Libke Fund.
- Mail a donation to the Clackamas County Peace Officers' Benevolent Foundation at P.O. Box 426, Oregon City, OR 97045. Make checks payable to the CCPOBF and put "Officer Robert Libke Fund" on the memo line.