You may have to sit down before hearing about this latest police shooting.
A Black police chief in Oklahoma was shot four times—three times in the chest and once in the arm—on Thursday morning by a white suspect whose home he was raiding. But after blasting away at the police chief of Sentinel, Okla., the white man was allowed to walk free.
Law enforcement officials said they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him.
Police Chief Louis Ross’s life was saved because he was wearing a bulletproof vest, which he borrowed right before the raid on the house of Dallas Horton. It is unclear how the four Washita County sheriff’s deputies who conducted the raid along with Chief Ross allowed him to be shot four times by Dallas Horton without returning fire.
From descriptions of neighbors and Horton’s Facebook page, the man appears to be a “survivalist” type who mistrusted the government, was openly unfriendly to neighbors and wore a lot of black clothing.
His Facebook profile is full of racist images and mocks Black leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton.
“Hurt ME and your [sic] gonna feel pain,” is written on an image of a human skeleton’s skull. “Hurt my BEST FRIEND and your gonna need an ambulance, hurt my FAMILY…I’m gonna need a shovel.”
Yet another image shows a blood-spattered 18-wheeler cab with human limbs sticking out of it.
“JUST DROVE THROUGH FERGUSON,” it reads, “DIDN’T SEE ANY PROBLEMS.”
This startling case will cause considerable head-shaking from African-Americans at a time when the nation is so focused on the differences in how the criminal justice system treats Blacks and whites. It is hard to imagine a scenario where a Black man with violent anti-white statements on his Facebook page could shoot a white police chief four times and be home for dinner with his family the same day.
Most of the anger and protests that have been raging for months involve cases where Black men were killed by police with little to no provocation.
This disturbing case started when 911 dispatchers in Washita County received two calls on Thursday morning claiming there was a bomb inside the Sentinel Head Start school. The man on the other end of the 911 call identified himself as Dallas Horton. So law enforcement authorities decided to conduct a raid on Horton’s home.
Before the raid, Chief Ross borrowed a bulletproof vest from the county. Sentinel is a tiny town whose population in 2013 was listed as 904 people.
When they burst into Horton’s home, they came upon Horton in a bedroom. Horton reportedly told officials he didn’t know it was law enforcement officers. But Chief Ross sounded somewhat doubtful of that claim in comments he made to the local television station KWTV.
“Don’t know what he heard or didn’t hear, screaming from five officers of the law announcing our presence, requesting to see hands,” Ross said.
Sentinel Mayor Sam Dlugonski told the local media that Chief Louis Ross was home resting after being treated at the hospital and is lucky to be alive.
“He borrowed a vest from the county before he went in and it saved his life,” the mayor said. “It was a blessing that he borrowed that vest.”
Investigators from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation searched Horton’s home after the shooting and reportedly found several guns and a possible explosive device. Mayor Dlugonski told the television station that he’s known Horton his entire life.
“He loved guns, camo gear, knives. Stuff like that,” said Dlugonski.
According to the television station, Horton’s house has signs by the front door that say “Certified Zombie Killer” and “Warning: Zombies inside—Enter at your own risk.”
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation conducted what must have been the world’s quickest investigation following the shooting of a police chief and released Horton on Thursday afternoon. The bureau said there was not enough evidence to arrest Horton for the shooting because a bureau computer analyst concluded the 911 calls did not come from Horton’s home. Apparently that was enough information to let him go—there was no word on whether Horton owned a cellphone or why he couldn’t have made the call from somewhere else.
Ross had not been interviewed by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation as of Friday. Ross told the local media that because the investigation is ongoing, he didn’t want to comment on Horton’s release.
But the police chief did say he has faith in the system.