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Deputy injured in crash while responding to fatal pedestrian accident

A Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputy was injured in a crash Monday afternoon while he was responding to the scene of a pedestrian accident that resulted in the death of that victim. The first accident involving the pedestrian was reported about 11:52 a.m. in the 8400 block of Brangus Road. About five minutes later, the accident involving the sheriff’s deputy was reported at Garrett’s Lake Road and Kickapoo Street.
Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Capt. Travis Palmer was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe sheriff’s unit when that accident occurred. Palmer, who was eastbound on Garrett’s Lake Road, was en route to the Brangus Road accident to assist another deputy, said Shawnee Police Lt. Tom Pringle.
At the intersection, his unit collided with a Ford Mustang driven southbound on Kickapoo Street by a 17-year-old driver, Pringle said. Her name was not being released.

Palmer, who was trapped in the wreckage, was extricated by Shawnee firefighters and taken by REACT EMS ambulance to Unity Health Center, North Campus. There, he was treated for facial lacerations and a vertebrae injury, Pringle said, then was transferred by helicopter ambulance to an Oklahoma City hospital for further treatment.

Pringle said the teen’s parents took her by private vehicle to Midwest City Regional Hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.
Shawnee Patrol Officer Jay Keehn worked the scene and police are investigating, Pringle said, with Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers assisting with measurements and diagrams of the collision.

At Unity’s ER, fellow deputies and police officers from various agencies arrived to check on Palmer, said Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth.

Booth, also at the hospital, said Palmer was traveling “Code 3,” at the time of the accident, which meant he had activated lights and sirens in response to the emergency call.
“He was on the way to help someone,” the sheriff said. “Sometimes these things happen — we know that when we’re putting on the badge.”
Booth said Palmer was awake at the hospital and was concerned for others as he asked Booth about the other driver, as well as the pedestrian he was trying to go help.

Other deputies and state troopers worked the pedestrian accident on Brangus Road, where a man who was getting out of his vehicle was hit by that vehicle and reportedly died from his injuries, according to scanner reports.

That accident was determined to be on trust land, so Sac and Fox Nation Police were investigating that accident. No other information or the identity of the person involved in the fatal accident could be obtained from Sac and Fox tribal police as phone messages were not returned.

Alleged shooter faces drug charges

The homeowner who allegedly shot and killed a man who knocked on his door and came inside his home during an altercation last month now faces felony drug charges for items found at his home while deputies investigated the shooting. The district attorney hasn’t yet determined whether the shooting was justified as part of Oklahoma’s “Make My Day” law.

Thomas Marion Lillard III, 30, is charged in Pottawatomie County District Court with unlawful possession of a controlled drug within intent to distribute, acquiring proceeds from drug activity, possession of controlled dangerous substance, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and a misdemeanor of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
An arrest affidavit shows a drug task force investigator responded to Lillard’s rural home at 36706 Old Highway 270 about 11:40 p.m. on March 4 following the shooting incident.

Isaiah Reuben Poncho, 32, died at the scene after suffering a single gunshot wound to the chest. The affidavit shows Poncho had been shot and killed by Lillard after an altercation had occurred.

In previous reports, Sheriff Mike Booth said Poncho reportedly went to Lillard’s residence and knocked on the front door. When Lillard answered, Poncho reportedly stepped inside the home and there was a slight altercation between the two men, who reportedly knew each other, the sheriff said.

“The homeowner had a pistol with him,” Booth said, “and shot Mr. Poncho one time in the chest.”

As deputies worked the scene to investigate the shooting death, the probe took another turn. The drug task force agent was alerted there was an odor of marijuana at the home; the affidavit shows Lillard was cooperative with deputies and advised that he had about a pound of marijuana in the house and some currency, court document shows.

A search warrant was granted by a judge and authorities began searching the home about 2:58 a.m. Authorities seized money and various package and gram amounts of marijuana, including a brick weighing 460 grams and another brick weighing 462 grams, court documents show. In total, reports indicate nearly three pounds of pot were found, along with $6,766 in cash.
Sheriff’s reports have indicated that Poncho allegedly went to Lillard’s residence to obtain a gun when the altercation between the two men occurred, said Capt. Travis Palmer. That night, a woman who was traveling in a car with Poncho also made allegations about being kidnapped, so that information became part of the shooting investigation. Her statements on the shooting also matched a guest who was at Lillard’s home, Palmer said.
Deputies investigated the shooting as a homicide and turned their case over to prosecutors, but Booth said whether or not the shooting was justified was the question.

That decision is up to District Attorney Richard Smothermon, who will determine if the shooting incident falls under Oklahoma’s “Make My Day” law, which gives citizens the right to use deadly force to protect themselves while inside their own homes.

Because of the items found at Lillard’s home that night, Smothermon’s office filed the drug charges Thursday, but his decision is pending on the shooting incident.

“A decision is forthcoming whether or not the shooting was justified,” Smothermon said Friday. “We’re waiting until we have the opportunity to meet with the victim’s family.”

Lillard was not arrested the night of the shooting and his name was not initially released. Smothermon said Friday they anticipate him surrendering himself to authorities to face the drug charges.
Watch for further updates.

Woman surrenders to deputies after threatening suicide, pointing weapon at them

Six Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputies kept a level head and held their fire when a Pink woman who had been threatening suicide pointed a weapon at them earlier this week. After negotiations, the woman surrendered and dropped the weapon, which looked like a 9 mm black pistol, but was actually a BB gun. Capt. Travis Palmer said the woman, whose name is not being released, called 911 and said she was armed with a 9 mm pistol and was going to kill herself. The E-911 center in Tecumseh was able to track her call to the Pink area, Palmer said, and Deputy Johnny Austin began negotiations with her over the phone for about one hour. Palmer said deputies used the tracking system to pinpoint the general area of her location, but they weren’t sure exactly which residence she was calling from. Several deputies responded to that general area. The woman said she was going to kill herself or force deputies to kill her as Austin continued phone negotiations. About 30 minutes later, she agreed to come out of the house. Deputies Randy Willis, Jimmy Brewer, Scott Hawkins, Brian Wolfe and Palmer went to the home with Austin and REACT EMS paramedics were at the scene in a standby mode, he said. The woman, reported to be in her 40s, didn’t come out of the home they expected and exited a nearby travel trailer, Palmer said. She took a stance and pointed her weapon at all six deputies, and while they are trained to protect their lives from shooters, none of them fired their sidearms. “I was proud of them — they took cover” behind one patrol car, Palmer said, as negotiations continued. Deputies were a distance away as the woman put the gun to her head and then pointed it at the deputies again, he said, then there was more negotiations. Austin kept talking to her, Palmer said, and the woman eventually decided to throw the weapon a few feet away from her. She was taken into custody to be medically checked and undergo evaluation, Palmer said. In the end, deputies learned the black pistol, which looked just like a 9 mm handgun, was a BB gun, “but we didn’t know that at the time,” Palmer said. Any of the deputies could have shot her to protect their own lives, he said, but none did. “The officers were professional and held their fire. I don’t know why,” he said. “The guys did a tremendous job,” Palmer added, praising Austin’s negotiation efforts. Palmer also said dispatchers at the 911 center did a great job of coordinating dispatch efforts as the deputies worked the scene. Afterward, all of the deputies were debriefed about the experience. Sheriff Mike Booth said they’ve all asked why none of them shot the woman. He said something — maybe “intuition” — stopped them. And just like officers are trained and subconsciously pull their sidearms when someone threatens or points a weapon at them, Booth said sometimes deputies pull their guns and can tell something’s not quite right. Undersheriff Dave Balleweg said there was great teamwork involved at the scene. In the end, what mattered was that no one was hurt and the woman’s life, despite her desire to end it, was spared

Missing Tecumseh teen, alleged kidnapper found in Washington

A 14-year-old Tecumseh girl, missing since Feb. 2., and the 40-year-old man who reportedly took her, were found in the state of Washington Saturday afternoon during a routine traffic stop.  Lt. J. R. Kidney of the Tecumseh Police Department said that James Joseph Reimer, 40, was arrested during a routine traffic stop by the Washington State Highway Patrol. The Tecumseh teenager, Deborah Kalai Fourzan, 14, was with him at the time and Kidney said he was told the girl was believed to be safe and not harmed.  He said both Fourzan and Reimer, who has turned 41 since he left town with the teen, were taken to the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Department in Montesano, Wash., about 50 miles from where Reimer was stopped and arrested. The arrest took place near the small town of Hoquiam, Wash., Kidney said, and he was informed by a sergeant with the state’s highway patrol Kidney said that Reimer was arrested and is being held on a $100,000 warrant that was filed in Pottawatomie County by District Attorney Richard Smothermon here on the day the teenager left with Reimer. That warrant specifically accuses Reimer of soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by the use of technology.
Fourzan was last seen about 8 a.m. on Feb. 2 at Tecumseh High School, Kidney has stated.  Kidney said Saturday night that last Thursday he signed kidnapping charges against Reimer and he expects those to be filed by the DA possibly as early as Monday. Although investigators believe Fourzan went willingly with Reimer, because of her age, she can’t do that legally, Kidney said.  The Tecumseh officer said it was his understanding the traffic stop took place about 4 p.m. Washington time which would put it around 6 p.m. in Oklahoma. He said that FBI agents in the state of Washington probably would be headed either Sunday or Monday to the sheriff’s office where the teen and Reimer were being held Saturday night. He said it was his understanding the FBI planned to talk to both the teenager and Reimer.
No charges have been filed against Fourzan for anything, Kidney said Saturday night.  Kidney told the News-Star late Saturday evening he had visited by phone with an FBI agent in Norman who had been in contact with the FBI in Washington state. He said the FBI was investigating to determine if federal charges against Reimer might be warranted.  Reimer reportedly had worked at a convenience store at SH 102 and SH 9, but had not been seen there since Feb. 2. Kidney said the Pottawatomie County sheriff’s office is investigating the theft of several thousand dollars from that store which allegedly occurred on that date as well.  Kidney indicated that extradition of Reimer would be sought. And he said hopefully the teen’s family would be able to pick up her as early as Monday.

Sheriff’s deputy honored for service to county

Longtime Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Gay turned in his badge and filed his last report Friday as he headed out the door toward retirement.  Of all the things he’s going to miss about working every day, Gay said it is mostly the people in the courthouse the people he visited with every day. “But I won’t miss the alarm going off and putting on the uniform,” he said. Gay started working at the sheriff’s office as a jailer back when the former courthouse jail was operated by the sheriff’s office. He became the environmental officer for a time, a grant-funded position that involved investigations of illegal dumping. He later worked as the evidence officer, served as a transport officer and had worked the last few years as the courthouse security deputy.

Gay said he used to work the overnight shift as a jailer, by himself, in the old jail atop the courthouse. He had to conduct bed checks every 30 minutes and would start on the fourth floor, then check the third-floor cells before making his way down the stairs into sheriff’s office on the ground floor to grab a cup of coffee.

He’d take the stairs back up to the fourth floor and start the 30-minute process over again and again.

As a transport deputy, he traveled many miles over the years to pick up prisoners with now-retired deputy Walter Taft. When people with outstanding arrest warrants from this area were found and arrested in other states, the duo would drive to pick them up and bring them back to jail to face charges here.

While serving as courthouse security deputy, Gay patrolled the courthouse and was a security presence during a multitude of court hearings.

During his retirement party Friday, Sheriff Kurt Shirey presented Gay with a plaque to honor him for his years of service.

Several of his current and former colleagues also joined in the congratulations.

In retirement, Gay and his wife, Janie, plan to go fishing and do home improvement projects at their house in Tecumseh.