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Auburn, Placer County start to heal, deal with PTSD symptoms

Tributes to Detective Mike Davis pour into North Auburn sheriff’s headquarters
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Who to call

Gold Country Chaplaincy

(916) 259-1001

Saying goodbye is only the beginning.

Following the shooting deaths of Placer County sheriff’s detective Mike Davis and Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy Danny Oliver, a memorial of flowers and hand-written messages at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Richardson Drive in North Auburn has become an emotional focal point for the Auburn community and beyond.

It’s a symbol of a community in mourning, as residents outwardly deal with their grief and their own feelings of alarm centered on a tense four-hour manhunt Friday on the streets of the city.

Sahib Lanre Hassan was in tears but stoic as he walked up to the Richardson Drive police headquarters Monday to stop and momentarily reflect on the loss of two peace officers.

“To know someone can snuff out a life like that – these are real people,” Hassan said. “They’re parents and father and brothers doing their job.”

Hassan said the show of respect when Davis’ body was driven in a procession from Sacramento to a Roseville mortuary on Saturday  – with first responders flying flags from every overcrossing – “gave me goose bumps.”

“I’m proud to have reliable first responders,” Hassan said.

Inwardly, many in the tight-knit community of Auburn – particularly its public safety employees – are hurting, said Terry Morgan, Police USA and Gold Country Chaplaincy chaplain. But that’s a natural reaction to the incidents Friday, he said.

“Moving forward can take some time,” Morgan said. “It’s a serious matter and people need to realize it’s traumatic and try to take care of themselves.”

“Taking care” can mean everything from drinking plenty of liquids to getting enough rest and avoiding self-medicating, he said.

As well as deeply affecting first responders, the death and the intensity of Friday’s lockdown of schools and Auburn homes could result in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that need to be addressed, Morgan said.

“It’s traumatic not only for the Sheriff’s Office but the community because Auburn is a close-knit community and we appreciate what they do,” Morgan said. “When someone from outside does something like this to one of our own, there are a lot of emotions, even anger.”

If physical or emotional symptoms persist, people should find someone to talk to, he said.

“That could be a chaplain or pastor, to express what’s going on inside of them to,” Morgan said. “If it continues, they should seek professional help from a counselor.”

Among the outpourings of sympathy was a statement from Supervisor Jack Duran, chairman of the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

Duran said that as a son and brother of deputy sheriffs in California and Nevada “my heart and prayers go out to the families who have suffered a horrific loss.”

“Not only is the law enforcement family grieving from a loss of two of their own but the community as a whole is shocked and saddened by these senseless acts of violence,” Duran said.

In the coming days, the public will learn more details of the events leading to the deaths of the two peace officers, he said.

“And while that may satisfy our curiosity, it will never replace the loss to our community of these two brave men,” Duran said.