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Published: Thursday, 5/13/2004

Police heroes honored: Officers' sacrifice remembered during annual service

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Law enforcement officers remember 62 colleagues who were killed in the line of duty. Law enforcement officers remember 62 colleagues who were killed in the line of duty.
ZAPOTOSKY / BLADE Enlarge

Toledo police Officer Shelli Kilburn said she believes Richard Sanchez intended to kill her during a struggle that turned fatal for the robbery suspect in East Toledo this year.

"I don't see myself as a hero," said the 35-year-old, nearly 11-year department veteran, who was shot two or three times in the legs by the suspect before he was killed by police.

Officer Kilburn yesterday received the Blue Star Award, which is given to an officer who has been killed or wounded in the line of duty. The award last was presented in 1993.

Officer Kilburn and Officer Scott Sterling, who came to her aid and fired shots at Sanchez, also received the Medal of Valor.

Three other colleagues involved in the Feb. 26 incident - Sgt. Edward Mohr, Officer

Thomas Corser, and Officer Brenda Sarahman, who was off duty at the time - received Meritorious Service Awards during a ceremony before the annual Toledo Area Police Memorial Service.

"You really don't understand how quickly things happen until it happens," said Officer Corser, a rookie who apprehended one of Sanchez's two accomplices.

When he heard the shots, he ran to Officer Kilburn - whose gun became inoperable after she fired at Sanchez - and rode with her to the hospital. Sergeant Mohr, who was involved in the pursuit of the suspects, helped Officer Kilburn by applying pressure to her wounds.

Toledo Police Chief Michael Navarre, right, honors Officer Shelli Kilburn, as Sgt. Edward Mohr, left, and Officers Brenda Sarahman and Thomas Corser look on. The latter three officers were honored for coming to the aid of Officer Kilburn, who had been shot on Feb. 26. Toledo Police Chief Michael Navarre, right, honors Officer Shelli Kilburn, as Sgt. Edward Mohr, left, and Officers Brenda Sarahman and Thomas Corser look on. The latter three officers were honored for coming to the aid of Officer Kilburn, who had been shot on Feb. 26.
SIMMONS / BLADE Enlarge

"It felt like 30 to 40 minutes, but they said it took 30 to 40 seconds. There was a million things going through my head," Officer Kilburn said, recalling the incident in which Sanchez said eight to 10 times that he would kill her.

Officer Kilburn said she has returned to work on light duty. As she continues to recover from her wounds, she faces an administrative investigation after she was cited in March for drunken driving and speeding in North Carolina.

Officer Kilburn wasn't the only Toledo officer to receive the Blue Star and Medal of Valor awards yesterday. An undercover vice detective, whom police have declined to identify so as to not compromise his safety and investigations, received the awards in a separate ceremony.

Myron Campbell was shot to death Oct. 19 during a struggle with the detective, who police said saw him rob a North Toledo gas station. The man was fleeing when the officer saw him. The suspect hit the detective on the head with a knife and the officer's handgun.

Campbell was shot five times and shocked twice with a TASER device before being subdued. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The six officers were just a few of many officers and civilians recognized yesterday. Sgt. Edward Mack was named Command Officer of the Year. Officer Frank Armstead was named Officer of the Year.

Sixty-two officers from the area who were killed in the line of duty were remembered during the memorial service.

"We owe them all a debt of gratitude. Their deaths caused pain for so many, but they did not die in vain," Toledo Mayor Jack Ford said during the service in the Toledo Police Memorial Garden on the Civic Center Mall.

The crowd was silent as the name of each fallen officer was read followed by the tolling of a bell.

Boch, Toledo police's drug dog for 8 1/2 years, also was remembered. The German shepherd died Feb. 22 from a systemic fungal disease, most likely contracted from the molds he encountered in the crack houses he searched.

Dozens of officers who went beyond the call of duty and citizens who helped police in a variety of cases were honored. Police Chief Mike Navarre also praised city and county emergency personnel for their response during the I-280 crane collapse on Feb. 16.

The awards and those receiving them were:

Certificates of Appreciation: Bambos Charalambous, William Rider, and the Rev. Ron Warnimont.

Meritorious Public Service Awards: Toledo Public Schools Security Officer William Weyandt, Rita Scherer, Dan Weishuhn, Allan Shiffler, Robert Warren, George Wagner, Toledo Firefighter Kevin Deck, Dennis Bugg, Ryan Shanly, Stephen Golaszewski, Carey and Dionne Fitzgerald, John Barnosky, Mike Young, Allen Rysz, police Chaplain Larry Vriezelaar, Mary Wolff, and Donnie and Rosemary Vires.

Letters of Recognition: Sgt. Phillip King and Officers David Mosiniak, Donald O'Brien, Leah Lewis, Michael Palicki, Douglas Przymierski, Donna Marshall, Robert Rogalski, Michael Ritson, and Detectives Douglas Allen and James Dec.

Meritorious Service Awards: Sgt. Edward Mack and Detectives Kermit Quinn and James Scott.

Distinguished Service Award: Deputy Chief Donald Kenney.

Professional Service Awards: Lt. James O'Bryant; Sgts. Deonn Bortel, Charles Humes, Edward Mohr, and Keefe Snyder; Officers Marlon Atkins, Joan Boose, Mary Cichocki, Robert Holland, Joleen Krohn, Sandy Lubinski, Gregory Mahlman, William Michalski, Donald Nachtrab, Michael Palicki, Kenneth Powell, Trisha Pritchett-Draper, Craig Smith, Timothy Smith, Charles Turner, and Scott Warwick; Detectives George Barber, Timothy Campbell, Charles Culpert, Jay Gast, William Goetz, Willie Johnson, Timothy Kaminski, William Seymour, and Blake Watkiss, and civilian employees Stacey Mitchell and Sandra Sutter, who are police communications operators.

Contact Christina Hall at

chall@theblade.com or

419-724-6007.



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