Woodburn bombing victim forgives accused assailants

By Traci Scott, Faith Report

Scott Russell remembers almost nothing from the afternoon six months ago when the Woodburn police chief nearly died.   On December 12, he and two officers responded to a bomb threat at a local bank. The bomb was discovered in some bushes, but the officers thought it was a fake and took it inside to work on it. The explosion critically injured Russell, who lost his right leg, and killed State Police Senior Trooper William Hakim and Woodburn Capt. Tom Tennant. As with much of the bombing, he instead focuses on what lies ahead, Russell said in his first interview with reporters since the bombing. “Deep down inside, my belief is that I have a bigger mission to fulfill,” he said. “There’s a lot left for me to do.”

Russell is back on the job, working about two hours a day between rehabilitation and rest. In a wheelchair, he is hopeful that the next surgery, his 29th, will be the last and that he soon can be fitted with a prosthetic limb and then walk.

Six months ago, Russell was in critical condition, in a drug-induced coma. He regained consciousness several days later to see his wife’s face. It was up to her and the interim police chief to tell him about what had happened.  “It was a tough day to realize what had occurred,” Russell said.
The months of recovery have been helped immensely by the outpouring of community support, prayers, and lifesaving efforts by doctors, nurses and therapists.  The two men accused in the crime, Bruce Turnidge, 58, and Joshua Turnidge, 32, have pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and other crimes connected to the bombing.  “It was a heinous crime, but I’ve forgiven them,” Russell said.

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