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Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Tulsa, Oklahoma 06/10/1996

A vicious firefight erupted when officers and their K-9s confronted a robbery suspect in a dark alley.

June 15, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

A strangely peaceful feeling washed over Downie. Hobson moaned. And Downie knew that his partner was even worse off than he was.

Down but not out, Hobson fired a volley of shots as Dino stalked in the direction of their assailant's muzzle flash. Hoping that his own rounds might prove at least effective as suppressive fire, Downie double-tapped again. But the sense of tranquility that'd initially enveloped him was now gone, replaced by the certitude that he was about to die.

Whatever his fate, Downie wasn't going to leave Hobson without the benefit of a protective gun and he kept his sidearm trained in the direction of the muzzle flash. Hobson and he were both down in no man's land, bereft of any cover, and backlit by a street light; Downie felt the odds were very much against them.

The sight of Jim Leach advancing down the alley gave Downie a desperately needed shot of hope. With a third friendly gun at play, Downie crawled toward the corner of the building for cover and radioed that shots had been fired with two officers down.

Downie might have been in a world of pain, but he wasn't out of the woods. When the suspect opened fire on them again, Dino rapidly closed the distance on him and engaged, getting in a few good bites and interrupting the suspect's renewed assault.

But then the unthinkable happened. The dog inexplicably let go of the suspect. Worse, it began to double back toward a delivery doorway where Leach had taken partial cover. With each step the dog was unwittingly putting Leach in increased jeopardy by allowing the suspect to zero in on him. Leach yelled, "No!" and with that Dino turned around and resumed his attack on the suspect.

The Gunman

At the far end of the alley, Officer Jack Pike joined Downie at the corner of the building. Pike asked for Downie's flashlight and darted into the alley, taking cover behind the telephone pole nearest Hobson. As Pike wrestled between his desire to extricate Hobson from the alley and a need to neutralize the threat, Officer Walt Milner moved up to join Downie with a shotgun.

Pike and Milner simultaneously illuminated the alley. The officers could now see 21-year-old Steven Williams, some 40 feet away from Pike and leaning against a black steel plate that jutted from the building at its opposite end. Williams had a shotgun in his hands and a .22 revolver in his belt. The shotgun had malfunctioned and Williams was determined to clear it rather than retreat or transition to his revolver. That would prove a costly tactical decision.

Pike, Leach, and Milner opened fire on Williams, who continued to desperately wrestle with the shotgun even as bullets raked his body. Williams went down.

As Corporal Harold Adair grabbed Downie and assisted him out of the alley,  the shooting finally stopped. Then someone got on the radio and asked what Officer Hobson's dog's name was.

Tags: Shots Fired, Tulsa (Okla.) PD, Officer Involved Shootings, K-9 Units


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Josh B. @ 6/17/2011 10:55 AM

Uh...any chance of Tulsa springing for night vision gear?

M. Carnahan @ 7/17/2011 5:26 PM

I was living in a house at 9 W Fairview that night. I can remember a flood of patrol cars racing up and down the streets with officers checking vacant lots and back alleys. There was a strange feeling that every officer in the city had somehow converged at once in my neighborhood. I got a very uneasy feeling and heard shortly after that police had been fired upon and were possibly dead. It was a sick feeling but at the same time there was such a level of intensity and presence that no one could question the solidarity of the TPD.

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