VALLEY BROOK, Okla. - It started out as a normal traffic stop but ended with Valley Brook Officer Brian Southerland in the hospital.
Around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Southerland was rushed to the emergency room in critical condition after being shot in the leg near I-240 and Eastern during a traffic stop.
Officials said the officer had his back turned and was making his way back to his vehicle when the driver shot him in the leg.
“It’s dangerous anytime you pull somebody over and, in this case, he had actually already made contact with the person he had pulled over and, then, he turned around to walk back to the vehicle,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Spokesman Mark Opgrande. “A sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene and began giving CPR and putting a tourniquet on him to stop the bleeding.”
Chris Stables lives close to where the shooting occurred.
"When you have a lot of people getting stopped and their cars get towed, you have people who get mad and want to get back at the cops. Valley Brook police are known for stopping a lot of vehicles," Staples said.
Staples said crime in the area has increased and he's noticed police cracking down.
"For someone to shoot a police officer, that is a cowardly act. It really is just pure cowardly," he said.
At this point, authorities said they are still searching for a suspect.
They found a vehicle on Sunday night that is believed to be connected to the shooting, but it was abandoned.
Once they find a suspect, investigators will then be able to find out the shooter's motive.
While the investigation continues, residents said they are uneasy with the shooter on the loose.
"If they are going to shoot a cop, they will shoot anybody. They have no fear of pulling the trigger. Nobody is safe if they are around," Staples said.
As for Southerland, he is out of surgery and listed in serious condition.
A GoFundMe has been set up for him.