When officers knocked on the front door of 305 Second St., the plan was to serve an outstanding warrant. When the front door opened, they were hit with the strong suspicious scents of a methamphetamine lab.
The odors did indeed lead to an active meth lab, and immediately five suspects were taken into custody without incident.
A sixth escaped to hide in the attic, beginning the scorching wait in the sun for the armed teams who arrived next, narcotics agents and the Tulsa County Sheriff swat team to wait with the Bixby officers.
The ordeal had begun in early morning, but it was almost 1 p.m., before the final suspect was carried out of the house on a stretcher by EMSA paramedics.
The heat had finally taken the last of his fight and desire to hide, but not before it took down an unidentified sheiff's deputy who fell to heat-related symptoms and was taken away by EMSA a few minutes earlier.
Officers don't know what to expect when they knock on a door to serve a warrant, so they go in number, prepared for anything. In this case the Bixby Police Department team consisted of Andrew Long, Aaron Daniels, Blake Simpson, and Shad Shadrahmes. Rene Torres appeared on the scene later.
Sgt. Shannon Clark of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said in order to take the sixth and final suspect out of the house, officers had called the S.W.A.T. team.
Once the suspect was out of the house, he predicted, a professional meth lab team would go into the house to disassemble the lab.
There are more meth labs out there than there are of us, Clark told the media. We must always go in expecting the worst, he said.
Fortunately, he continued, our men are experts because they have a lot of practice. The team is skilled.
When the Bulletin first arrived on the scene at 11 a.m., the entire section on Second St. between D Street and Riverview was ribboned off with yellow police tape; police and sheriff's department vehicles lined both sides of the street.
Just east of there, in the parking lot of Brassfield Fifth and Sixth Grade Center on the other side of Riverview, there was a fire truck and more police vehicles. Eventually, EMSA would add to the emergency crews in the area.
West of the scene, vehicles continued to arrive, lining both side of the street, as the S.W.A.T. team arrived one at a time.
They dressed in hot, heavy bulletproof gear and checked their weapons, eventually putting on a helmet as the sun glared down at 101 degrees. Several were already in the small house.
The suspect was repeatedly asked to come out of the attic, but time passed, and spectators wondered how he could remain in the house when they were outside in the breeze burning up.
Curiosity-seekers asked how long could the multiple officers stand to be outside in heavy gear? Why didn't they use tear gas? How could the suspect hold out so long in the heat? By noon the number of officers/deputies on the scene had tripled; vehicles lined both sides of D Street.
I just live two doors down, and I never noticed anything going on here, said neighbor Carl Gooding, no fumes or anything.
This all started at 8 or 9 a.m., said a woman who asked to remain unidentified. I was walking my dog and heard, 'Come out with your hands up.
She said she had never noticed anything suspicious going on in the neighborhood. She felt safe there when walking her dog or when her daughter rode her bicycle.
She had watched as two young men and a young woman were put into police vehicles. The Bulletin watched as two more young men were put into police vehicles.
Stuff like this just doesn't happen around here, she said.
Another spectator said he had seen a lot of traffic going in and out of the house but had never suspected there was a meth lab there or anything else illegal.
Eventually, two poles were carried into the house to knock out drywall as officers attempted to get to the suspect.
He can't go out the same way he came in, said Clark. We dictate how they come out.
Not long after that the suspect was taken out by stretcher.
Friday, July 30, 2010
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