OKLAHOMA CITY – Several Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers were recognized for their bravery at the Trooper of the Year Awards on Tuesday.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Brett Stephens and six others, who are all members of the OHP Tactical Team, were recognized for their involvement in a shootout with a suspect in Talihina last May.
In May, officers with the Talihina Police Department asked the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for help while serving an arrest warrant for 52-year-old Bradley Webster.
The McAlester News-Capital says officers were concerned about taking Webster into custody after receiving a report from an informant that Webster might be armed with an AK-47 and Uzi pistol. A search warrant affidavit claims that Webster told the informant he had the weapons “because he was not going back to jail and was ready to go on a shooting spree at City Hall.”
Capt. Paul Timmons, with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, says that troopers were immediately fired upon when they reached Webster’s property in Talihina.
During the shootout, a fire started inside the downtown Talihina structure. Webster died at the scene.
Once the shooting was over, officials learned that several troopers suffered minor injuries. In all, OHP says Brett Stephens, Brandon Seward, Christopher Bunch, Chance Tuttle, Jason Ross and Timothy Wesley all received minor injuries during the melee.
Also, Trooper Austin Ellis was recognized for his actions at a routine traffic stop that turned into a shootout in Woodward last August.
The Department of Public Safety says during the early morning hours of Aug. 26, OHP Trooper Austin Ellis was on routine patrol and initiated a traffic stop for a seat belt violation near 34th and Oklahoma in Woodward.
Officials say the driver, Arturo Ramirez, led the trooper on a short chase and then entered the parking lot of Days Inn on Highway 183.
After stopping at the hotel, Ramirez “engaged the trooper in gunfire and the trooper responded.”
Video captured at the scene showed Ramirez sitting inside his car before he suddenly pulled out a gun and started shooting at Ellis.
Warning this video may be upsetting to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
Ellis jumped behind the back of his patrol car as he returned fire.
Trooper Ellis was shot in the exchange, but his vest stopped the bullet. However, officials say he likely suffered a broken rib as a result of the bullet's impact.
During Tuesday's ceremony, five other troopers were also presented with individual awards.