By Bill Carey
OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Washington State Patrol trooper who was ambushed and shot in the face in 2022 received a hero’s welcome at the state capitol on Monday. The state House of Representatives gave Atkinson a proclamation honoring his desire to return to service, as well as a standing ovation, KING5 reported.
Trooper Dean Atkinson was in his cruiser when Brandon Dennis O’Neel walked up to Atkinson’s vehicle and shot him multiple times. Atkinson, wounded in the face and hand, drove himself to a local hospital. From there, he was transported to the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
O’Neel had previously made threats to kill police officers after receiving an eviction notice.
“If I don’t get the uniform on, it’s going to be a bad day,” Atkinson said. “So my one aim is to get the French blue back and however long it takes, however long it takes.”
Atkinson lost parts of two fingers and has been undergoing physical therapy as part of his continued recovery. He thinks he has had his last operation.
“It’s probably in his DNA, so he’s there to serve the people and protect them,” said Rep. Mark Clicker. “So this decision is to honor him because of what he does for us.”