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Honoring our Fallen Heroes

​​October 28, 1959 - May 4, 2021John Burright.jpg

Retired Sergeant John Burright passed away May 4, 2021, after a battle that started on September 4, 2001. That was the night his life and the lives of those closest to him were forever changed.

On September 4, 2001, Sergeant Burright and Albany Police Officer, Jason Hoerauf stopped to assist a disabled motorist on the shoulder of Interstate 5 near mile point 243. Earlier in the day, Officer Hoerauf was doing a ride-along with his friend and mentor, Sergeant Burright. Senior Trooper Maria Mignano, also on patrol in the area stopped to assist with the motorist. When the three were outside of their patrol cars, a driver that had been traveling northbound fell asleep. The driver veered off the interstate and struck all three officers. Senior Trooper Mignano and Officer Hoerauf were killed instantly, Sergeant Burright survived but was critically injured. Sergeant Burright was 41 at the time of the collision and sustained critical injuries that forced early retirement in 2002.

During his career with the Oregon State Police, Sergeant Burright served in the Patrol Division, Criminal Division and was one of the original members of the Mobile Response Team.

John Burright started his career with the Oregon State Police as a Recruit in March of 1987. During his career, John worked in the Patrol Division supporting the community's in Roseburg, Albany, and finally in Salem at the rank of Sergeant. John leaves behind his wife, Rhonda, and their three sons.

On April 21, 2016, a ceremony was held outside of the new Oregon State Police Headquarters dedicating the naming of a Salem City Street in the name of Burright.

Although John has been retired since 2002, he and his family have always been in our hearts and minds. John's early death is a result of the traumatic injuries he received on the night of the collision and his death is designated as a line of duty death. This important designation will ensure that John's family will receive all line of duty honors and death benefits afforded under state statute and Department of Oregon State Police provision, including an appropriate placement on our agency Fallen Trooper Memorial and the State of Oregon Memorial Wall.

“At work, Sergeant Burright was a courageous and dedicated professional that shared his sense of humor with those he came into contact with, but away from work, he was a devoted and loving husband and a father to three sons." expressed Superintendent Terri Davie. Davie also added, " The death of John is a vivid reminder of the dangers our Troopers face each day. It does not matter the type of call our Troopers respond to, risk is present the moment they put on their uniform and badge. John is our 34th Oregon State Trooper that has died in the line of duty and we honor his and his family's sacrifice. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and all who knew John."

August 31, 1957 - December 12, 2008

Senior Trooper William (Bill) R. Hakim Oregon State Police Senior Trooper William R. Hakim, age 51, died in the line of duty as a result of a bomb explosion at a Woodburn-area bank on December 12, 2008. Also killed during the incident was Woodburn Police Captain Tom Tennant. Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell was critically injured.

Following his birth in New York City, Bill’s family moved overseas to Spain and Italy where he attended elementary school. In 1968, the family settled in Mexico City, where Bill began his secondary education. After finishing high school in Texas, Bill attended St. John’s College in New Mexico and upon leaving St. John’s he enlisted in the United States Navy. He finished his college education at the University of Texas in Austin. While serving his country during his 12-year Navy career, Bill’s proudest accomplishment was becoming an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diver. Bill left the Navy in 1994 and moved to the Northwest to raise his family.

Bill joined the Oregon State Police in July 1997 and was assigned as a Patrol Trooper at the Klamath Falls office.  In 1999, he transferred to the Arson & Explosives Section as an arson detective and Certified Hazardous Device Technician. He was also involved with the Oregon State Police SWAT team and taught other law enforcement officers about arson and bomb investigations.

Bill led an adventurous life, loved to travel, and was a passionate learner. During his youth, Bill mastered the French, Italian, and Spanish languages. He is survived by his wife Terri, two teen aged children, and his two dogs. Other survivors include his brother, step-mother, many nieces and nephews, and a large extended family.

May 10, 1962 - September 4, 2001

Maria Mignano Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Maria F. Mignano died in the line of duty as a result of a traffic accident on September 4, 2001 at age 39.

Maria was born in Long Beach, California to Anthony and Rose Mignano. She attended San Pedro High School and Los Angeles Harbor College, where she studied to be an Emergency Medical Technician. Maria moved to Salem in 1984 and worked as an admissions clerk for the Salem Hospital Emergency Room before becoming a member of the Oregon State Police in June of 1993. During her career with the Oregon State Police, Maria served on the Mobile Response Team, earned an Officer of the Year Award, and was certified as a Drug Recognition Expert.

Maria was passionate about her faith, flamenco dancing, studied the Spanish language, enjoyed international travel, martial arts and sailing.

She is survived by her mother, Rose, four sisters and two brothers. ​​

August 10, 1944 - October 2, 1997

Richard Schuening Oregon State Police Sergeant Richard J. Schuening died from duty related explosion injuries he received while performing his duties as a Hazardous Devices Technician with the Oregon State Police on October 2 at age 53.

Mr. Schuening was born August 10, 1944 in Pendleton, Oregon. He graduated from high school in Pendleton in 1962. After graduation he joined the Army National Guard. He later served in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service on board the submarine USS Spinax Ss-489 from 1964 until 1968. After his military service he returned to Oregon and was the service/parts manager for a heavy equipment and farm machinery dealership in Pendleton. Later he began a custom harvesting business in Pendleton. In April 1979 he joined the Oregon State Police and moved to Salem. He had a wide variety of duties including patrol, criminal detective in auto theft and drugs, arson investigator and bomb technician. He was promoted to Sergeant and was the Bomb Squad Commander and Assistant Manager of the Arson/Explosives Section. He was a member of many law enforcement organizations including the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, Oregon Peace Officers Association, Oregon State Police Officers Association and the American Association of State Troopers. He served on selection boards for other arson investigators and bomb technicians. During his career he worked with numerous local and federal agencies throughout the country. He was a member of the Obsolete Fleet Chevys and GM Haulers and enjoyed restoring classic vehicles. He enjoyed camping, snowmobiling and woodworking. On August 19, 1984 he married his wife Louise in Salem, Oregon.

Survivors include his wife Louise; sons Derek Spang of Lostine, Oregon and Patrick Schuening of Salem; daughter Jill VanLeeuwen of Boise, Id., Tracy Schuening of Spokane, Wa., Lisa Martin and Sarah Schuening both of Salem; mother Maxine Haines and step father William Haines both of Pendleton; brothers Eddy Schuening of Hermiston and Ivan Schuening of Aurora; sisters Marthella Bowman of Whitefish, Mt., Julie Schmidt of Grande Rhonde; mother-in-law Nickie Mwesisca of Monmouth; and seven grandchildren.

August 26, 1974 - September 2, 1997

Scott Lyons Oregon State Police Trooper Scott A. Lyons was killed in a traffic accident along with Sergeant James D. Rector while on routine patrol west of Crescent, Oregon on September 2, 1997.

Trooper Lyons had been with the Oregon State Police for almost two years and had followed in the footsteps of his father, Senior Trooper Bill Lyons, an instructor at the Oregon State Police academy.

Trooper Lyons, who was single, grew up in Bend and had served 4 seasons as an Oregon State Police cadet at Government Camp, Florence and Coos Bay. After completing Oregon State Police basic training he was assigned to Gilchrist in 1995. Lyons, regarded as a rising star, was selected to be a recruitment coach for new officers, a responsibility normally reserved for the most experienced officers.

December 17, 1950 - September 2, 1997

James Rector Oregon State Police Sergeant James D. Rector was killed in a traffic accident along with Trooper Scott A. Lyons while on routine patrol west of Crescent, Oregon on September 2, 1997.

Sergeant Rector was a 24 year veteran of the Oregon State Police and had been promoted to sergeant in June 1997.

Sergeant Rector, survived by a wife, and two sons, had been assigned to Klamath Falls for approximately two years early in his career and served the remaining 21 years of his 24-year Oregon State Police career in the Gilchrist-Crescent area. He worked with neighborhood watch groups and was the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officer in the local school and would jump in whenever a community need arose. His wife, Carol, works for Crown Pacific, the local timber company.

Sergeant Rector was a Vietnam War veteran. He was also the Klamath County State Police Officer of the Year in 1995 and received the Oregon Police Officer Medal of Honor for his involvement in a shooting. Sergeant Rector had survived five shoot-outs and two bullet wounds in his career.

October 1, 1984 - September 30, 1992

Bret Clodfelter In the early morning hours of September 30th, 1992, Trooper Bret Clodfelter, age 34, completed a traffic stop on a suspected DUII driver in the suburban area of Klamath Falls. Bret handcuffed his suspect for the trip to jail; he also agreed to transport the suspect's two passengers to their reportedly nearby residence. One of the passengers was Franscisco Manzo-Hernandez who had a violent history of assault and drug use. The three men were placed into the rear seat of the patrol car.

When the dispatcher could not get an answer from Trooper Clodfelter on the radio, another Klamath Falls car was sent to check on him. His vehicle was found about four blocks from the location of the DUII stop, all three passengers were missing and Trooper Clodfelter, still seated in the driver's seat, was found murdered.

This began one of the largest manhunts Oregon had seen in many years. Officers from local police departments, sheriff's offices, and fellow members of State Police began the search for the killer, many of them volunteering their own time. The TV and radio stations broadcast the sad and gruesome details of the murder and ran composite drawings and the description of the suspect, both in English and Spanish. A large reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of Manzo-Hernandez aka: Poncho. This paid off because on the afternoon of October 2nd, 1992 an informant gave the location where Hernandez was hiding in a barn on the same street where he had shot & killed Trooper Clodfelter. The officers surrounded the barn and took him into custody as he climbed a fence and fled across a field.

November 1, 1972 - July 11, 1983

Donald Smith
Officer Smith died July 11th, 1983, when the airplane in which he and a Deputy Sheriff were riding in crashed in a remote wilderness area in Southern Oregon while on a marijuana observation flight.

June 3, 1957 - May 22, 1980

James Shepard Officer Shepherd was shot and killed from ambush by a lone assailant while on duty May 22nd, 1980, in rural Clatsop County. The accused was apprehended after a statewide manhunt. He pled guilty to murder, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

May 15, 1960 - May 10, 1975

Harold Berg Harold R. Berg of Salem, was appointed May 15th, 1960.

On May 10th, 1975 Lieutenant Berg, while off duty, was contacted by a citizen who informed him that a boy scout was missing at Cape Lookout State Park. While attempting to search a cave near the water's edge he was washed out to sea.

The Department of State Police has established the Harold R. Berg Lifesaving Award in his memory. It is awarded to members who distinguish themselves by performing or reacting to a situation in a positive and professional manner which saves or reduces the risk of loss of life of another person.

January 1, 1939 - November 25, 1975

Holly Holcomb
On November 25, 1975 in front of the Public Service Building in Salem, Superintendent Holcomb was shot after having a confrontation with a former member, Robert H. Wampler. The accused was taken into custody, convicted of murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was paroled less than ten years after the incident, in 1984.

The department of State Police established the Holly V. Holcomb Award in 1988. This award is presented to officers who, while serving in an official capacity, distinguish themselves by reacting to a situation in a heroic or positive and professional manner to reduce the risk of loss of life or injury to another person.

March 13, 1972 - July 28, 1972

Dan Nelson Dan A. Nelson of Salem, appointed March 13th, 1972 was killed July 28th, 1972 at the age of 24.

Officer Nelson was north of Salem on Interstate 5 issuing a warning to a motorist. An elderly male subject veered across across the fog line and struck the officer. It was later determined that the accident was due to sleepiness on the part of the elderly male subject.

July 1, 1959 - November 16, 1967

Donald Welp Donald Welp of Gold Beach, appointed July 1st, 1959, drowned on November 16th, 1967 when returning from a boat patrol on the Rogue River accompanied by Officer Wayne Krieger, the boat swerved suddenly, throwing both men into the water.

The officer's body was located the following day.

July 1, 1959 - May 7, 1967

William Hall William H. Hall of Corvallis, appointed July 1, 1959.

On May 7, 1967, while operating a game patrol near Junction City, Officer Hall swerved to miss a girl riding on a bicycle, lost control of the patrol unit, and was thrown to the pavement. He succumbed four days later in a Eugene Hospital.

May 1, 1962 - November 8, 1962

Ralph Bates Ralph Bates was fatally shot near Arlington as he approached a car he had stopped for an unknown reason. The person who fired the fatal shot was in possession of a stolen vehicle and was subsequently arrested.

The suspect was committed to the Oregon State Hospital and died there in 1963.

September 9, 1951 - September 9, 1961

Fredrick Kielhorn Trooper Fredrick Christian Kielhorn died on September 9, 1961 in a plane crash near the Mennonite School between West Salem and Dayton. He was 36 years old and was assigned to McMinnville and served the Oregon State Police for 10 years with a previous assignment in Baker City.

Yamhill County Sheriff W.L. “Bud” Mekkers, Trooper Dave Tindall, and Trooper Kielhorn were extraditing a prisoner from Lompoc, CA to McMinnville to face criminal charges in Yamhill County when their plane crashed. Sheriff Mekkers and Trooper Tindall were seriously injured but eventually recovered. The prisoner was not injured but voluntarily remained with Trooper Tindall until he was identified as a prisoner and taken into custody at the Salem Hospital. Trooper Kielhorn is survived by a wife, son, and daughter.

March 1, 1948 - February 22, 1957

Charles Sanders Charles C. Sanders responded to a radio call for assistance from a Lane County Deputy Sheriff E.J. Robertson when his partner, Deputy Dave Hefner, was shot in the neck while investigating a domestic violence call.

The ensuing gun battle with the suspect, Albert Wachsmuth, lasted 2 hours. Sanders was fatally wounded by a rifle shot from inside the house when officers rushed the residence. The suspect ran out the back door and attempted to commit suicide, but survived the self-inflicted gunshot wound. Albert Wachsmuth was later charged with First Degree Murder.

Deputy Hefner, shot in the neck, died of his injuries in July.

December 12, 1947 - May 8, 1956

Richard O'Conner On May 8th , 1956 Officer O'Connor, 33, was sent from Coquille to Bandon to serve a summons on a 36 year-old millworker, Ralph Pyatt, directing him to appear in court on a charge of driving without a operators license. O'Connor knocked on the door of Pyatt's motel cabin and as it opened a 22-caliber pistol spat four times. O'Connor staggered outside, fired one shot from his .38 wounding Pyatt, then died. Pyatt, wounded, crawled back inside the cabin and fell unconscious against the door. Neighbors found O'Connor's body and called police. Pyatt was taken to a Portland hospital where he died 19 days later of his bullet wound.

March 5, 1934 - June 24, 1952

Philip Lowd On June 24th, 1952, Officer Phil Lowd, a 54 year old veteran of 18 years State Police service, Officer Charles Offenbacher, and Forest Ranger Lowell Ash went to talk with a 67 year-old eccentric, recluse trapper who had taken a shot at a Forest Service Survey Crew. The officers were met with a volley of shots. Lowd was shot between the eyes and died instantly. The trapper, George Dunkin led his pursuers on a chase through the woods that lasted for weeks. He was finally captured and sentenced in October of 1952 to life imprisonment for second degree murder. He was paroled in 1967.

June 19, 1950 - October 1, 1950

Dale Courtney Dale Courtney, a rookie with one month of street experience, was dispatched to the Plieth farm near Tigard to investigate a complaint of random shooting. There he found John Wilson, a 15 year-old Newberg youth and Harvey O'Day, a 14 year-old graduate of a California reform school inside Plieth's cabin.

As Courtney approached the door O'Day shot him in the head with a load of buckshot and then wounded Plieth as he fled the area.

The juveniles who had escaped from McLaren the night before, left Courtney lying dead at the farm house. They were taken into custody after wrecking a stolen car. Both were convicted and sentenced to prison and were later paroled.

May 19, 1949 - September 7, 1950

William Levinson William Levinson, 25, was killed at the 12th and State Street railroad crossing in Salem. Officer Levinson was waiting for a passing train when his motorcycle engaged into gear and carried him beneath the wheels of the passing train.

September 22, 1948 - September 22, 1948

Earl Burtch Sergeant Earl Burtch was killed in an airplane crash when the Bellanca monoplane he was piloting struck a mountain near Coffee Creek in Douglas County.

He was returning to Medford after making a trip to Roseburg to install and repair several radios for the Oregon State Police. During his return trip he encountered clouds that closed in on him. One of the wings of his plane struck a mountain, causing it to break off. The plane nosedived into a pasture near Coffee Creek, killing him on impact.

Sergeant Burtch had served with the Oregon State Police for 16 months. He was survived by his wife and 7-year-old son.

June 2, 1947 - January 17, 1948

LeRoy Spickerman LeRoy Spickerman of The Dalles, appointed June 2, 1947 died on January 17, 1948 at the age of 26.

Officer Spickerman was fatally injured when his patrol car was struck head-on by another vehicle on the Columbia River Highway.

July 22, 1943 - May 25, 1947

Delmond Rondeau At 10 p.m. Trooper Rondeau observed a burglary in progress across the street from the Hood River Police Station. As he approached the burglar, John Omar Pinson, he was shot in the chest. He then staggered across the street to the station and died.

The suspect was located when he crashed a roadblock at The Dalles, wrecked his stolen car in an 80 mph chase, escaped on foot and was captured hiding in a boxcar in Ordinance, Oregon.

John Pinson was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Trooper Rondeau. He was paroled in 1959.

August 1, 1941 - April 29, 1945

Theodore Chambers Sergeant Theodore Chambers, State Police Private Richard O'Brien, Weiser Police Chief Saunders and Malheur Co. Deputy Al Walters found a car abandoned by two ex-cons who were wanted for armed robbery in Nampa, Idaho. The foursome followed foot prints to an abandoned schoolhouse and conducted a search. All seemed in order until Sgt. Chambers opened a storage closet in the basement and both suspects shot him. Private O'Brien was shot in the back, however; he was pulled to safety.

Chief Saunders was taken hostage by the wounded suspects who then climbed out of a window and made their way across a nearby field. From 150 yards away, a volunteer shot one of the suspects in the head, the other, wounded and bleeding, gave up and was convicted of first degree murder and was the only man in history to be executed for murder of a State Policeman.

September 2, 1941 - July 5, 1944

George Cameron George Cameron was accidentally struck and killed by an automobile in Clatsop County When he and another officer were questioning the driver of a truck parked beside the railway.

August 1, 1931 - June 21, 1939

Willard Tubbs Private Willard Tubbs was called to assist the local Arlington Town Marshal, Webb Turner in pursing a suspect wanted for forgery. The suspect had overpowered and escaped from the Marshal at a service station when an attempt was made to take him into custody.

Tubbs and Turner saw the suspects vehicle parked at the side of the road five miles outside of Arlington. When they exited their vehicle the suspect dove behind his car and began firing. Tubbs was shot in the abdomen and died 10 minutes later. His assailant was taken into custody and committed to the Oregon State Hospital where died in 1956.

August 1, 1931 - April 7, 1938

Ira Warren Two days before Thanksgiving in 1937, Sergeant Ira A. Warren and a Portland City detective went to a cheap hotel in downtown Portland searching for an ex-con they wanted to question regarding a burglary in Clackamas. They found him and as they were taking him into custody two of his friends burst into the room. All three were taken into custody and Sergeant Warren was holding them while the Portland Detective left to phone for a paddy wagon. One of the three, Earl Sears, once known as the "sock bandit" had a hideout weapon and shot Warren in the neck.

Warren was hospitalized twice, once after a brief return to duty. Five months later he died of a meningitis infection directly linked to the gunshot wound.

Sears, the man who fired the shot, was found guilty of armed robbery prior to Warren's death and sentenced to life in imprisonment, he was paroled in 1955.

No documentation can be found to show that anyone was ever tried or convicted of the murder of Sergeant Warren.

October 20, 1931 - November 7, 1937

Elmer Pyle Elmer Pyle was shot Nov. 7 near Terrebonne. Private Pyle and Sgt. Arthur Tuck drove to the isolated chicken ranch of Gust Olson to check on a report that Olson had killed his 70 year-old partner. Olson was standing near a truck in the front yard when the officers arrived. They asked him about his partner and as Pyle walked toward him, Olson grabbed a shotgun from the truck and shot him in the face. He then fired the other barrel at Tuck who returned fire, Olson died in the gun fight with Sgt. Tuck.

Pyle clung to life for 7 months and died on Aug. 17, 1938 from his wound.

August 1, 1931 - July 1, 1933

Burrell Baucom Burrell M. Baucom, a young State Police Private, flagged a car to stop on Highway 99 seven miles north of Grants Pass. The car had been reported stolen from Grants Pass. A 17-year old "tough guy" who had just graduated from a reform school in California pulled out a gun and shot twice. Private Baucom toppled to the roadway fatally wounded. The killer and his 21 year-old companion sped away, wrecked their vehicle and attempted to run on foot, they were captured by a posse and sentenced to life imprisonment, both were paroled in 1947.

August 1, 1931 - December 29, 1931

Amos Helms Amos B. "Spud" Helms, a former semi-pro baseball player and one-time member of state traffic police was shot in the abdomen as he and captain Lee Noe approached a suspect vehicle at a service station in LaGrande. Helms died 73 days later from his wound. The car matched the description of the vehicle used in a hold-up in Idaho Falls. Captain Noe fired at the suspects who were later captured, convicted and sentenced to life in imprisonment without possibility of parole for the murder of Helms. One was granted a conditional pardon in 1942, and the other was paroled in 1950.

End of Watch Friday, August 29, 1930

Joseph Saunders Deputy Game Warden Joseph Saunders and Officer Oscar Duley, of the Eugene Police Department, were shot and killed while conducting a liquor raid with several Lane County sheriff's deputies.

The suspect was shot and killed near Eugene, Oregon on November 25, 1930, by other officers who had been searching for him.

End of Watch Monday, November 27, 1922

Officer Earl Perkins succumbed to injuries sustained one week earlier when he was involved in a motorcycle accident on the Pudding River Bridge in Marion County, Oregon. He was attempting to pass a garbage truck when the sidecar on his motorcycle struck the hub of the truck, causing him to be thrown underneath the truck.

Officer Perkins had been with the agency for nine months and had previously served with the Tillamook Police Department.

He was survived by his wife, father, and brother. ​

End of Watch Thursday, December 17, 1914

Game Warden Arthur Hubbard was shot and killed as he and a local constable served a search warrant on a game violator in Jackson County. After searching the suspects cabin, the two officers were leaving when they encountered the man.

After a short exchange of words, the suspect lifted his rifle and shot Game Warden Hubbard, killing him.

The suspect was arrested the following day by the county sheriff. He was charged with Game Warden Hubbard's murder but later acquitted.

Game Warden Hubbard had served with the agency for over 2 years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and son. ​