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Family, acquaintances recount suspect in Logan Co. deputy slaying’s troubles with drugs, the law

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PERRY, Okla. – A man arrested for shooting and killing a Logan County sheriff’s deputy has had long-struggled with depression and drug addiction, according to family and others who know him from his hometown.

Nathan LeForce, 45, is in the Payne County jail on a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Logan County sheriff’s deputy David Wade.

Wade, 40, was serving an eviction notice at a house on Mulhall Rd. and I-35 when LeForce reportedly shot him in the face and body and took off in the deputy’s vehicle.

Wade was able to call for backup, and a pursuit ensued.

LeForce then reportedly stopped at gas station near State Highway 33 and Henney Rd. near Langston and carjacked a customer.

Wade - a husband and father of three - was airlifted to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Authorities located the stolen vehicle shortly before 11 a.m near County Rd. 76 and Jaxton Rd., just northeast of Guthrie.

After a frantic search for much of the morning and afternoon, LeForce was arrested after being found shortly after 2 p.m in a nearby shed.

LeForce has a checkered past with numerous run-ins with law enforcement - many of those incidents coming from his hometown of Perry in Noble County.

“I just cannot believe my son...” said Flora LeForce, Nathan LeForce’s mother. “He was a good boy, but now he’s lost.”

Flora didn’t want to talk on camera with NewsChannel 4, but I did talk with her in her home, at length, about her son.

She said her, LeForce, was born in Perry but spent much of his formative teenage years in Wyoming, where he enjoyed rock climbing. But, the family moved back to Perry after her husband died of Leukemia in 1997.

Extremely close to his father, Flora said LeForce had a “psychotic break” in 2000 which she said led to him pointing an AR-15 at a Perry police officer trying to conduct a traffic stop early one morning in September 2000.

“An officer got in pursuit with Mr. LeForce. They went south of town and to — by a cemetery — at that time, Nathan stopped his vehicle, came out with an AR-15,” said Perry Police Chief Brian Thomas Tuesday afternoon, in between phone calls with OSBI agents searching for LeForce. “The Perry officer started shooting at the vehicle. (LeForce) was not shot and took off. We found his vehicle abandoned over by Lake McMurtry — between Noble and Payne Counties — right on the line.”

LeForce's mother said her son was suffering from depression, drug addiction and was trying to commit suicide by cop. LeForce ended up pleading guilty in that case and received a deferred sentence of four years and one year of probation.

In 2015, LeForce was arrested and charged for allegedly kidnapping and holding an Oklahoma City woman captive in his home for roughly 10 days.

“She managed to unbind herself, and run for help and came to the police department,” Thomas said. “We made an arrest that night and, when it all came to, the victim of this was very uncooperative would not come back to court, would not testify.”

Those charges were dismissed.

Flora doesn’t give excuses for her son’s past, saying the father of four boys came close to attacking her in the past while “in an episode” on drugs.

“He backed me into a corner, he had his fist in the air and I said ‘I will fight you to the death if you take these boys,’” she said.

But, Flora said her was trying to turn his life around for his sons, attending church, an addiction support group and had been staying with her recently.

“I didn’t even know he had the house [where the eviction notice was served],” Flora said. “He was staying here; his friends were coming here to visit him.”

Law enforcement sources said LeForce’s name was not on the eviction order and no ties to the property where Wade was shot. It isn’t clear if LeForce was visiting the residence.

“I’m not saying Nathan was a good fella’, but we were praying he’d change,” said Linda Stueve, who knew LeForce as a young boy and also attends the Perry First Church of the Nazarene. “A month ago, I gave him a great big hug, and I was so proud of him because he was coming to our Celebrate/Recovery — you always hope they’re going to change. You pray for these kids that grew up with our kids.”

When Steuve found out the manhunt for Wade’s shooter involved LeForce she said it made her sick but didn’t surprise her because of his past.

LeForce was transferred from Logan County to the Payne County jail late Tuesday night; Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux saying “He isn't welcome in our facility.”

There are less-than-compassionate feelings in Perry and nearby Noble County when LeForce’s name is brought up; some have plenty to say, albeit when the cameras are off.

But, family and the few who saw LeForce’s other side don’t deny his troubled past and now uncertain future.

“Nathan just—I don’t know why he chose the road he chose,” Steuve said.