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Residents of Oklahoma town demand answers in police shooting

2 years 7 months 1 week ago Monday, April 29 2019 Apr 29, 2019 April 29, 2019 2:01 PM April 29, 2019 in News - AP National

By ADAM KEALOHA CAUSEY
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Residents of an Oklahoma town are demanding answers after police last week opened fire on a pickup truck, wounding three children and a man they say was wanted in a robbery, but with few details made public.

Three days after the shooting, it still wasn't clear Monday why gunfire broke out Friday when two Hugo police detectives tried to pick up William Devaughn Smith, 21, on a robbery warrant. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says Smith, a woman and her four children were in the truck outside of a food pantry. The woman and one child were not hurt. The three children who were wounded - ages 5, 4 and 1 - have been released from the hospital.

OSBI has not released the name of the detectives, who have since been placed on paid leave. The state agency and local police also have not said how they connected Smith to the robbery of a restaurant earlier this month. Authorities have not said if Smith fired a weapon in the confrontation with police on Friday.

Hugo native Rodney Cox was leading a demonstration Monday asking for local and state officials to show any police videos of the shooting and a public release of a report on the incident. Residents also want to know if the officers involved were appropriately trained.

"If those were your kids in the car, how would feel about the situation and what would you want to be done?" said Cox, who now lives in Oklahoma City. "We're not hearing much right now."

The police chief in Paris, Texas, whose officers arrested Smith on Friday after he was treated and released from a hospital there, said he's also not clear on aspects of the Oklahoma investigation. Chief Bob Hundley said he'd seen reports that the children were shot in the head and others that their injuries were not life threatening.

"The only information I've been made aware of is conflicting information," Hundley said.

Olivia Hill told KXII-TV in Sherman, Texas, that she was in the truck during the shooting and that her 4-year-old daughter was shot in the head, her 5-year-old child has a skull fracture and that her 1-year-old has gunshot wounds on her face.

State Rep. Justin Humphrey represents Hugo and said Monday that he met with community leaders over the weekend.

"There's no question the community has a right to be concerned, and I think these requests are reasonable," Humphrey said. "I've been in contact with the OSBI and have asked that they work with me to make the investigation as transparent and as open as we can."

Smith was being held Monday on an aggravated robbery complaint in the jail in Choctaw County, Oklahoma, after being treated and released from a Texas hospital. Records don't indicate whether Smith has an attorney yet.

Smith is suspected in an April 11 armed robbery at a Pizza Hut in Hugo, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City and near the Texas state line.

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AP writers Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City; Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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