Suspect starts fires with tracer rounds then shoots at firefighters

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Optima Wildlife Management Area in Oklahoma

semiautomatic weapon tracer rounds Oklahoma arson
Photo by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

On April 17 an individual that was illegally camping in the Optima Wildlife Management Area in the Oklahoma panhandle and was asked to leave by an Oklahoma Game Warden. As the suspect was departing several fires were started by tracer rounds fired from the suspect’s semiautomatic rifle. As firefighters attempted to extinguish the fires they were shot at multiple times by the individual. The shooter wandered off into the lakebed, setting more fires.

Approximately five hours later and after some intense moments, he was located, talked out, and taken into custody by the Texas County Sheriff’s Office and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

On April 18 Game Warden Mike Baker returned to the scene to attempt to locate the firearm that was reportedly used by the suspect to shoot at the firefighters. The Game Warden talked to two of the firefighters involved in the incident who pointed him to an area where the suspect was last seen starting additional fires.

Game Warden Baker was able to locate tracks that he believed belonged to the suspect and followed them to a point where he located a semiautomatic rifle and two empty magazines that are believed to be the same weapon used by the suspect.

Firefighters posted video of the active scene in which you can hear shots being fired, and firefighters saying, “We’re being shot at!”. Warning, adult language was used.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Matt. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

8 thoughts on “Suspect starts fires with tracer rounds then shoots at firefighters”

  1. Ah yes, another member of the “well-regulated militia” exercising his/her 2nd Amendment rights.

    1. The man was performing criminal activity….has nothing to do with a well-regulated militia…..get off the soap box.

    2. I missed the part of the article that mentioned involvement in an organization of any sort (militia). What I read was an individual illegally camping. AN INDIVIDUAL. And now we have a respondent named Emmett that is referring the actions of this INDIVIDUAL are the actions of all campers, or all carriers of firearms! That would be like saying all people named Emmett are uninformed, narrow minded and just wanting to stir the pot using only the information (fact or manufactured) that suits their side of the story.

    3. Just because some fool breaks a rule doesn’t mean the rule is bad; the fool is bad, not the rule.

    4. Your bigotry is showing.
      If a member of any group acts with irresponsibility do you always blame the entire population?
      Does it work the same with any ethnic, religious, gender, or age group?
      What did you say when a responsible 2nd Amendment supporter saves a cop, protects a church, business, their home or family?

  2. That has been happening more often in recent years. I wish LE would crack down harder on those who threaten firefighters.

  3. The Second Amendment community finds this kind of behavior appalling. Do NOT equate the two … they are poles apart. If he was actually shooting AT firefighters, or ANYbody, for that matter, the game wardens or anybody else would have been more than justified in using deadly force to stop the threat. Fire is just as lethal as firearms.
    Hopefully the Judiciary and “corrections system” will recognize the seriousness of this threat, do their jobs and keep this and other such dangerous individuals out of the free community for a long, long time.

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