Ardmore Police Chief Ken Grace said the citizens of Ardmore should be "extremely proud" of the skill and professional manner in which the city's police officers responded to and ended the ongoing threat of a rampaging shooter Thursday night.
"I have to commend the Ardmore officers for an outstanding job. And we would not have been able to accomplish our mission without the cooperation from the agencies who assisted," the chief said.
Talking about the manhunt, Grace described Henry Jackson, also known as Lil Henry, as exhibiting signs of spiraling violence. He said it was those signals that led him to order the city sealed off and a street- by-street manhunt for the 18-year-old who had already wounded four people, including two ATF agents in Ardmore, and was the prime suspect in the murder of a Tishomingo man.
"People were terrified and we were very concerned his next action might be in a public place, like a convenience store or a restaurant, where numerous lives would be at stake," Grace said. "We needed to stop him before he shot anyone else."
Grace called in off-duty officers and requested assistance from other law enforcement agencies, including the Carter County Sheriff's Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Lighthorse Police Department. Two hours after the manhunt was launched, Jackson was cornered near the intersection of H Street NE and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
"We had received information about the stolen car he was driving and then what sector of the city he was in, and we began tracking him," Grace said.
Corralled, Jackson refused to surrender. Instead, he opened fire on Ardmore police, shooting multiple rounds through the windshield and into the body of a police car. Officers returned fire. Jackson died in the gun battle.
"Two officers put an end to the situation," Grace said, adding both officers were on paid leave pending the outcome of the officer-involved shooting.
The chief deferred identifying the officers pending the outcome of the investigation. "I don't think it would be proper to name them, and in order to eliminate any hint of bias, the APD has stepped away from the investigation and I have requested the Carter County Sheriff's Department to handle the inquiry."
Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony said Saturday the investigation was under way, adding four guns had been recovered from Jackson's car during the initial stages of the investigation.
Rumors began circulating Friday that Jackson was also responsible for a number of other unrelated crimes, including burglary and robbery in Ardmore earlier in the week.
However, APD Capt. Kevin Norris said Jackson has not been identified as the primary suspect in any of those crimes.
"We've heard the rumors, too, but so far we have not confirmed he was involved in those crimes. The investigation is ongoing," Norris said.
The Johnston County Sheriff's Department is also conducting an investigation into the murder of Marcus Cole Holt and the subsequent kidnapping of Holt's girlfriend and her children.
Johnston County Sheriff Jon Smith confirmed Friday the stolen car Jackson was driving at the time he died in the shootout with Ardmore police belonged to the 21-year-old Holt. But Smith said the investigation into what happened at the rural Tishomngo residence where Holt's body was recovered was not completed.
Smith said deputies discovered Holt's body shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday. Smith said the former Lone Grove resident was "the of victim of a violent act" and listed his death as "an apparent homicide," but would only say it was "probable" Jackson was the killer.
In a press release, the sheriff said deputies acted on a 911 call from a women who reported "a kidnapping and possible shooting ... The caller reported that her daughter and the daughter's two small children had been kidnapped from their residence, and that her daughter's boyfriend (Holt) had been shot ... the kidnap victim had just been freed from her abductor .. The dispatcher was able to determine the kidnap victims were at a residence in Gene Autry where the suspect had left them and then fled."
Smith said he requested assistance from OSBI as deputies began the probe into Holt's death and responded to Gene Autry to make contact with the kidnapping victim.
About the same time, the sheriff said he learned of the shooting of ATF agents in Ardmore "by a person identified as fugitive Henry Jackson, and that Jackson was driving a vehicle belonging to the shooting victim."
Smith said Friday several law enforcement agencies were continuing to work together to investigate all of the incidents involving Jackson.