Demolition Begins On Building Damaged In Talihina Shootout, Explosion

TALIHINA, Okla. (KFSM) -- Demolition begins Friday(May 18) on an historic building damaged in a deadly shootout and explosion in downtown Talihina a week ago.

The National Guard Hazmat Team spent time this past week making sure there was nothing hazardous left in the century-old building, which caught fire last Friday after a shootout and explosion.

The fire destroyed two historic buildings, including the 100-year-old structure facing Dallas Street. The suspect in the shootout died after troopers returned fire. His name has not been released.

Investigators said they were serving a "high risk" search warrant last Friday, but when troopers from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol arrived, they were immediately met with gunfire.

Five troopers were injured int he shootout, but all received non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to recover fully. The five were identified as Brett Stephens, Brandon Seward, Sammy Lee, Chris Bunch and Chance Tuttle, all veterans of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The troopers were injured either by gunshots or by shrapnel. They did return gunfire and the suspect was shot and killed at the scene, Capt. Paul Timmons of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said shortly after the fire.

Investigators say the building could have been "booby trapped" and the fire started as soon as they tried to enter the building.  Vehicles near the scene were riddled with bullet holes.

According to the Talihina police chief, two historic buildings were destroyed.  Downtown roads around the fire were shut down as fire crews worked the scene, and the area around the buildings has been closed ever since.

The suspect had a violent criminal history and has made threats to law enforcement in the past, Timmons said.