MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Help is needed for a retired Golden Valley police officer who has fallen on hard times.
Leland Wanglie was shot in the line of duty back in 1972. The incident caused him to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, years before it was recognized as an illness.
Now, 40 years later, a Minnesota-based organization is trying to help Wanglie keep his home.
He says he remembers the day his life changed like it was yesterday.
“He was standing there outside the car, he’s got this .45 in his hand and he says, ‘Everybody freeze!'” Wanglie said
He says the encounter with a man and a gun haunted him for decades.
“I was able to bring my weapon up, I was going to try to get the first shot off is what I was going to do, but he beat me to it,” Wanglie said. “He got me with his .45 right in the shoulder … broke the collar bone, bullet went straight on through and came out back here.”
Thirteen rounds were fired. Lee got hit once, and the gunman was hit six times — dying hours later.
Wanglie says the shootout was one of three PTSD-causing tragedies he experienced in two years on the job.
“Post-traumatic stress was not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association until 1980,” Wanglie said.
He went undiagnosed for years. Because PTSD was unheard of at the time, he was let go — and that impacted his retirement.
Now at 78, his medical bills and those of his wife are overwhelming. They are in jeopardy of losing their home.
Backing the Blue Line has been around since 2011 to support retired and working officers and their families.
“All of the members of our organization are police wives of Minnesota,” BBL’s Jessica Knutson said.
Wanglie has spent years researching PTSD and how to help those living with it. His prayer is to be a blessing to others just like Backing the Blue Line has been to him.