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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

Red flags went off in Downie's mind. Shortly after he'd first joined the department a K-9 officer had gotten killed. In that incident, the dog covered the officer's body and wouldn't let anybody near him. Worried that history was repeating itself, but unable to recall the dog's name, Downie told the firemen who were working on him to get him up and into the alley. Fortunately, his fellow officers were able to get the dog off without anybody getting bitten.


Hobson was loaded up and taken to the hospital, followed by Downie, then the suspect.

Downie couldn't wait to get to pre-op. He'd refrained from examining the nature of his leg injury until he arrived in the ER room. What he saw didn't look good, but it wasn't as bad as he'd expected.

Hobson had been hit twice. And his injuries were much more serious.

Taking what comfort he could in the knowledge that his friend was in surgery, Downie was given morphine, which took about 20 minutes to kick in. He was moved to a room around midnight. He continued to press for information on Hobson. Each time he was reassured that his partner was holding on.

Just before 5 a.m., three other K-9 officers came up to speak with Downie.

Hobson had died.

Blood Clot

"Having grown up in an area where nobody liked policemen, I always thought about shootings," reflects Downie. "So when I got shot, I wasn't shocked or

"But I'd never thought about a friend getting shot, let alone a friend getting killed like that. While we hadn't spent much time together off duty, we were close. The day of his funeral was the single hardest day in my life."

Downie had some close calls afterward, too. Three days after his release from the hospital, he experienced extreme pain in his legs.

"The pain was brutal, especially behind my knee," Downie recalls. "I had a blood clot that went from my calf to my upper leg. I went back into the hospital for another week. That started a six-month journey of recovery."

Incredibly, the city of Tulsa did not give Downie injury leave.

"Normally, they would take your sick time until the end of the month," notes Downie. "Then they would give you injury leave and your sick time would be reinstated. But they never recredited me, and after six months, I ran out of sick time."

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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