By Jeremy Burnham
Source Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Dean Atkinson Jr. is back home in Walla Walla.
Nine days after he was shot and badly wounded in an ambush in Walla Walla on West Poplar Street near the intersection with Avery Street, Atkinson made the trip Sunday, Oct. 2, from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to Walla Walla.
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When he arrived — under police escort — a hero's welcome awaited him.
A motorcade of emergency vehicles from several local and state emergency agencies accompanied Atkinson in a parade through Myra Road and The Dalles Military Road.
Law enforcement officials encouraged the public to line the roadway to welcome Atkinson back.
Attendance was sparse on parts of Myra Road because of the shortage of parking.
But people did their best. Some parked in large parking lots of nearby businesses, such as Home Depot, and walked down to the roadway.
Others, in areas of Myra Road without large nearby lots, parked a distance away and made the trek.
A lot of people lined the road near Fort Walla Walla Park at the intersection of Myra and The Dalles Military roads.
The motorcade arrived in Walla Walla at about 3:30 p.m.
Two fire trucks raised a large American flag above Myra Road near the water treatment plan. This marked the start of the parade route, and the area was full of people waiting to welcome back the trooper.
Atkinson was shot multiple times Sept. 22, suffering wounds to his hands and face. He drove himself to Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla where he was treated before being air lifted to Seattle.
Shortly after the shooting, police from multiple agencies pursued and arrested Brandon D. O'Neel, 37, of Walla Walla. He has been charged with attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, first-degree assault with a firearm, and attempting to elude with a firearm.
Officers helped evict O'Neel from his apartment earlier that day. According to court documents, he had previously threatened to "execute" any officer who helped evict him.
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