Hurt Douglas cop recovering
May 21, 2005
In the six weeks since Deputy Robert Duffy was ambushed at the Kingslane Mobile Home Park, he’s been adapting to the loss of his ring finger destroyed when a rifle shot blew a silver-dollar-sized hole through his left hand.
He has figured out how to scoop up his 10-month-old son Jacob with one arm.
Despite the constant pain, Duffy is grateful he has feeling in his left hand and arm as he redevelops a sense of touch.
And he’s counting the days until he can return to full duty on patrol with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
On Monday, the day before a fourth surgery since the April 2 shooting, Duffy and his wife Aimee, both 30, talked about the aftermath since that pre-dawn attack when a 27-year-old suspect opened fire on deputies.
Duffy, on duty a few hours early to cover a shift vacancy, said he was traveling south on Highway 395 about 4 a.m. and he passed a white truck heading north at a high rate of speed. He turned around south of Scolari’s and followed the truck that continued to speed.
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The truck made an abrupt turn into the Kingslane Mobile Home Park and Duffy initiated a traffic stop. But the truck didn’t stop.
“That’s an indication that it’s a high-risk incident,” Duffy said.
He radioed for backup and followed the truck until it finally stopped in a cul-de-sac at the Gardnerville mobile home park, next to a pine tree.
The tree moved, an indication to Duffy that someone got out of the truck.
“There was a camper shell in the truck bed and I couldn’t see in the window. One or two people could have exited,” Duffy said.
He ordered the driver and another passenger out at gunpoint, procedure for a high-risk stop, Duffy said. By this time, Deputy Aaron Spoon had arrived.
Duffy said the suspects – lying on the ground and handcuffed – appeared to be intoxicated and were uncooperative about who else had been in the truck.
Deputies were about to track the missing suspect with the department’s drug-detection dog, when seven to eight shots rang out, the last one blowing a hole through Duffy’s hand.
Duffy credited dispatchers Marilyn Muñoz and Carrie Millsap with getting other agencies to respond. By the time the incident was wrapped up, more than 70 officers from Northern Nevada and California were on scene.
“They (the dispatchers) got us every agency responding within a matter of minutes – all of our department, most of Carson City, the Washoe Tribe, Nevada Highway Patrol, South Lake Tahoe. I think Washoe County sent some help,” he said.
Duffy, who has been on patrol for six of his eight years with the sheriff’s office, said crime has increased significantly.
“This is not a community where you should feel safe leaving your doors unlocked,” he said. “Highway 395 from Los Angeles to Reno is a route for the criminal element – drug dealers, felons on the run.”
Petri, although handcuffed by deputies after he shot Duffy, ran back into his family’s mobile home and committed suicide, shooting himself in the head.
“Somebody comes out and starts shooting at you – that is the definition of a terrorist,” Duffy said.
“If they were not out there committing crimes, they wouldn’t be coming in contact with sheriff’s deputies. In this community, 99.9 percent of the people are supportive of the sheriff’s department.”
The incident is under investigation by the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office.