The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Columns

January 15, 2007

Shooting put newspaper in the sights

Three weeks ago, a tragedy took place that the Mankato community has not experienced in some time, if ever.

Two local police officers were shot in the line of duty in the small town of Amboy. Fortunately, they survived. And just like other members of the community, the people who work at this newspaper send our good wishes and prayers to Rob Sadusky of the Mankato Police Department, Chris Nelson of the St. Peter Police Department and the officers’ families.

We hope they will be able to find strength to deal with this tragedy and recover physically and mentally from it. We also understand the stress this kind of incident puts on all law enforcement in the area and we also wish everyone the best in dealing with this grim reminder of police work.

Also, our thoughts go out to the family of Jeff Skjervold, who apparently turned the gun on himself after shooting the officers in a string of events that is still not clear.

The officers were responding to a report of a domestic dispute that turned very strange and dangerous. We know our readers depend on us to tell them what happened, and more importantly, if they and their families are safe.

Unfortunately, we were not able to do that in a way that was friendly to law enforcement.

It is never our intent to interfere with police doing their job, especially in these kinds of situations. But four hours into the standoff, dozens of readers and members of the community were calling our offices looking to us to tell them if the rumors about five people being shot dead were true.

One of our reporters had been on the scene for several hours and had been told nothing of what was going on. Another reporter was called in to start looking up the names of people in the Amboy region where the event was taking place. We use farm plat books in these cases. It’s a way to find out who lives where and it’s a common practice in the newspaper industry.

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