On February 12, 2010, retired Missoula Police Department Sergeant Robert Heinle passed away unexpectedly due to complications from being shot in the line of duty on October 21, 1998. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh says Heinle was thirty-eight years old when he was shot and he passed away two days after his 47th birthday.

“Bob had responded to the report of a forgery in progress at a bank location in the 300 block of West Broadway,” Welsh said. “He engaged in a foot pursuit with the suspect who at one point turned and fired a small caliber handgun at Sergeant Heinle. He was struck once in the neck and went down immediately.”

According to Welsh, a civilian saw Heinle go down and got on his portable radio and called out that an office had been shot.

“Emergency units, including three MPD officers, responded to the scene and performed life saving measures until EMS arrived,” Welsh said. “Bob was transported to the hospital and he did survive initially from his wound, but he was paralyzed from the neck down.”

Heinle was paralyzed, but Welsh says that did not stop Heinle from living life to the fullest.

“Sergeant Heinle lived a very full life with Lisa,” Welsh said. “They engaged in activities that any of us would be happy to do and Bob did it from his wheelchair. He was full of life and full of positive thinking. He just brought a smile to everybody he was engaged with or came in contact with. We remember him on this day and consider it his end of watch.”

Welsh asks that the public keep Heinle in mind and remember the sacrifice he made for our community. Lisa Heinle formed I Run For Bob, a non-profit organization that assists paralyzed and disabled persons and their families with their unique needs and help them lead fulfilling lives after a devastating injury or illness.

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