"It's shocking," Mankato residents react to shooting

Published: Aug. 28, 2018 at 10:40 PM CDT
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Mankato residents say they never imagined something like

would happen in their small town.

Steven and Terri Melby raised their three kids across from the Jewell County Sheriff’s Office in Mankato.

“The Sheriff’s Office used to answer our phone when we went away,” said Terri. “So, we have close ties.”

Tuesday morning, their son, a police officer in Salina, called to tell them to lock their doors.

Just before 8 a.m. Jason Whitson shot two deputies, one in the torso and one in the neck, and later himself.

Steven remembers Whitson as happy, stopping to chat as he and his kids passed by on their way to get a sweet treat. But now knows there’s more he didn’t see.

“We’re just a small community and we have big problems like they have in the city that are under the surface that nobody seems to notice,” Steven said.

Jewell County Attorney Darrell Miller says the community was trying to help him and his family.

“It's going to be very sad for all of those involved because there's five children involved,” said Miller. “That's going to be front and foremost on everyone’s mind is these five young children.”

He never expected his community would be hit like this.

“It’s shocking when it happens,” said Miller. “You always think it's going to happen and then when it happens on your door step it's a very shocking event."

“It’s a small town,” said longtime resident Adam Harris. “We take care of the people around here. This was a bad situation. The community’s out to help everyone not hurt.”