An Oregon State Police officer remained in critical condition Tuesday morning after he was injured in a deadly Christmas Day gun battle with an ex-police cadet caught up in a domestic dispute.
Trooper Nic Cederberg, 32, a U.S. Army veteran, underwent surgery on Monday after he sustained multiple gunshot wounds during a shootout with James Tylka, who died during the incident. Tylka was suspected of killing his wife and then leading police from three departments on a car chase late Sunday in King City before the exchange of gunfire.
“We are also humbled by the support the community has given,” the Oregon State Police said in a Monday Facebook post. “Please keep Nic, his family and all of his law enforcement peers in your thoughts and prayers.”
Cederberg has been with the state police force for seven years.
Nearly 140 officers across the U.S. have been killed in 2016, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. At least ten of those officers were responding to domestic disputes.
Though police have been relatively tight-lipped about the shootout that wounded Cederberg, more information has slowly begun to trickle out about Tylka’s life and his troubled relationship with his wife.
Tylka posted a photo on Facebook early this month of him kissing his wife, Kate Armand, and commented: “We aren't divorced.” Someone responded that she hoped they work things out. Police have not released the name of the woman he is believed to have killed, but Megan Armand told media outlets that the victim was her sister, Kate.
“We are still in shock and devastated from last night's events,” Megan Armand said in a statement. “My heart is broken from the loss of my only sister. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the wounded OSP Officer and his family.”
Several Facebook posts by Kate Armand's friends expressed grief, describing her as a good person and an amazing mother to a nearly 1-year-old girl.
Tylka updated his Facebook profile photo shortly before his death, displaying a picture of the couple. He also updated his cover photo, showing his two children, a boy and a baby daughter.
Tylka was locked in a protracted dispute with his former wife over custody of their son and child support payments, according to court records.
Tylka's ex-wife, Sabrina Starks, had filed for immediate temporary custody of their son in September, saying the boy was in danger of potential abuse. She said Tylka spoke about suicide in September 2015, drawing a call to police, before leaving town for four months.
Starks wrote in the custody request that they agreed to joint custody in May 2016 but he had been acting irrationally, impulsively and aggressively, constantly pressuring the boy for updates about what she was doing.
She said the boy was crying when she picked him up on Sept. 5 and that he told her Tylka yelled at him and a grandmother.
“I asked him what he meant. (The boy) stated, `If I don't tell Daddy what you do, he yells at me and sends me to the corner. I told him no, and he yells until I tell him,’” she wrote.
A judge denied Starks' request for immediate temporary custody. They divorced in April 2011, court records say, but it's not clear when Tylka married Kate Armand. Starks mentioned the marriage in her custody request, however.
Mike Rowe, a spokesman for the police department in nearby city of Beaverton, said Tylka was a cadet there between 2004 and 2006. Rowe said he does not know why Tylka left the program.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.