Around midnight on Tuesday, November 30, airport police at Tulsa International Airport returned fire on a shooter located in the airport’s parking garage.
The Tulsa Police Department informed the Tulsa Airport Police that an incoming passenger might be the victim of domestic abuse. This came after the victim’s husband threatened to kill her when she arrived back in Tulsa.
Airport Police met the woman and escorted both her and her brother to her car when, suddenly, a shooter opened fire on them as they were walking. The shooter shot an officer in the chest, and the officers returned fire. The officer shot was wearing a ballistic vest and was later released from the hospital. He is expected to recover from his injuries. Two airport shuttles outside the airport and other vehicles were hit by bullets, but no one inside was injured. The intended victim and her brother were not hurt.
The shooter carried three guns and exposed many people to gunfire. Beyond the officer and assailant being shot, two people were hit with pieces of plastic from a nearby bus. The assailant had been convicted twice in the past for robbery and last summer for indecent exposure, for which he received a suspended sentence.
“Three things stand out here,” LAAPOA President Marshall McClain says. “The first being that while it would be nice for police to have a head’s up that an attack or shooting is imminent, that rarely is the case. The intended victim did the right thing. She was smart and clearly has a good and caring family. For a lot of reasons, situations like this don’t always have happy endings for the victims, but I am glad this one did.
“The second is that airports remain high on the list of locations that attract unstable people to attempt dangerous acts. At Tulsa Airport, innocent civilians were again at the mercy of an individual who had the potential to cause much more damage. Airport environments are unique. Having a specialized airport police force of officers who train and prepare for these situations makes a huge difference in how attacks like this are handled.
“And, lastly, the Tulsa International Airport Police are brave and fearless. They are a reminder that airport police — and other law enforcement forces — are among the best of us. Those fellow officers laid their lives on the line to protect the public. They fulfilled their oath, as many of us do every day. Incidents like this deserve equal time in public discourse. I am proud to call those officers my brothers and sisters and thank them for their service.”