Maimed NHP trooper honored in Reno
October 15, 2002
RENO — A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper maimed in a 1993 mail bombing was honored Monday as he embarked on retirement after two decades with the patrol.
Trooper Ken Gager was awarded the patrol’s Purple Heart commendation and retirement badge during a ceremony at NHP headquarters in Reno.
Gager lost his left eye and a portion of his left arm when he opened a package Sept. 8, 1993, that he thought was a birthday gift from his children.
The box containing dynamite, nails and fence-post staples ripped a hole in the kitchen ceiling and blew out windows of Gager’s Douglas County home.
Robert Collins was convicted in federal court of making and sending the bomb and sentenced to 75 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Collins became obsessed with revenge after Gager arrested him following a 1991 traffic stop in Carson City. A search of Collins’ car turned up evidence linking him to insurance fraud and burglary.
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Gager, who returned to work after extensive surgeries following the explosion, later sued the state claiming discrimination over his status as a sworn officer.
The lawsuits were settled in August under an agreement that allowed Gager to retire with a 20-pension without being penalized. He also received a 10 percent raise retroactive for three years.