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Nine years since that fateful night of July 13, 2008, just before 2 a.m., a moment in time that would change Twinsburg forever.
Nine years ago is when Twinsburg Police Officer Joshua Miktarian was shot and killed in the line of duty, following an early morning traffic stop near the former home of Death Row inmate Ashford L. Thompson on Glenwood Drive.
Nine years has not erased the memories for Holly Miktarian, Joshua’s widow and a former police officer herself.
“I can't believe its been nine years he has been gone,” she said July 13. “The memories of this day will never go away. The sadness in knowing he was killed so violently hurts the most because he didn't deserve to die like that ... it’s so senseless.”
However, one thing that has helped with the loss is the support from the city of Twinsburg and its safety forces, she said.
“What hasn't changed in nine years — that’s the support from the city of Twinsburg,” Holly said. “The police officers, dispatchers and fireman all still care and show it. The community still shows it as well. Thea and I and our families all appreciate the outpouring of support even after nine years.”
That support included a morning vigil at Miktarian Memorial near Twinsburg Government Center July 13. Just earlier this year, that community support took the form of the annual scholarship dedicated in memory of Miktarian, which is given to a senior at Twinsburg and Tallmadge high schools interested in pursuing a career in the law field. A Poker Run and a golf outing also are annual events dedicated to the late officer.
Holly said that her husband “was a great guy.”
“He had a knack for making friends wherever he went,” Holly said. “He was always making his friends laugh. He was very smart, loved watching the History Channel and all that nerdy stuff.
Miktarian owned a pizza shop, was a K9 Officer, worked 12 hour shifts, played in a band and was a brand new father to daughter Thea, who was 3 1/2 months old when Miktarian was killed.
“I don't know how he managed it all that but he did,” Holly said.
Bob Votruba of One Million Acts of Kindness road a bicycle for nine hours on July 13 in honor of Miktarian, primarily along the Officer Joshua T. Miktairan Memorial Parkway.
“Josh made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting all of us from harm,” Votruba said. “May none of us ever forget the price hepaid.”
Twinsburg Assistant Police Chief Bob Gonsiewski said that Miktarian “was a very charismatic, fun-loving guy,” a man who could always get others to smile and laugh. Gonsiewski said that the safety forces have “all stuck together and support each other.”
“Even the new guys,” Gonsiewski said. “”It's affected a lot of guys profoundly."
Gonsiewski said that Miktarian's death changed the way the Twinsburg police conduct their police work, “I believe for the better.”
“It can happen to anybody, even in a small town,” he said. “We knew that before, but when it actually happens to you, it affects you. The officers are more aware of their surroundings, more aware it can happen to then. Josh was a friend, and we all miss him.”
Mayor Ted Yates said that Twinsburg “is always going to be in debt to Josh and the sacrifice he has made.”
As well as the support of the community, the passage of nine years has offered something else, of which Josh would have been proud, said Holly.
“I think Josh would be most proud of his daughter, Thea. In fact I know he is,” Holly said. “She is very much like him from the stories I have heard when he was a kid. She likes playing sports, is funny and has a lot of friends just like he did.”