OKLAHOMA CITY – An eye-witness gave News 4 a stunning account of what happened when a man opened fire at Louie’s Grill & Bar at Lake Hefner Thursday evening.
The suspect, who has not yet been identified by police, shot two people before he was shot and killed by a good Samaritan. His two victims were rushed to the hospital and are expected to survive.
News 4 caught up with witness Ron Benton after police dropped him off near the lake following an interview at the police station downtown.
Benton was with friends inside Louie’s when the shooting began. He said he didn’t understand what was happening at first, saying he only heard sudden loud noises.
“It sounded like, you know, any kind of restaurant noise, a rack of plates crashing. It was just noise, glass breaking,” Benton said. “But it was followed by a pop pop pop sound, and a wall of people started making their way to the floor, and making their way around to the backside of the bar.”
Then he heard the shooting stop, so he said he and his friends went to the parking lot to see if they could help, possibly get a license plate. While he was out there, he saw the shooter walking north along the sidewalk.
“He was just a 20-something-year-old kid, I don’t know,” Benton said, “Didn’t look very old. He was wearing ear protection and eye protection that you would have at a shooting range, so obviously he intended to come here and shoot tonight.”
Benton said the shooter appeared to be acting strangely when he spotted him.
“He was just kind of wandering back and forth,” Benton said. “He was, initially when I first picked him up, he was walking as if nothing had happened.”
At about the same time he noticed the shooter, Benton said he also saw a car that was driving out of the parking lot turn around, come back, and park near the restaurant.
“A guy jumped out of it and went for the back of his vehicle. I just assumed maybe it was an off-duty officer or something like that,” he said. “It was just the way he moved, whoever it was. He just appeared to be somebody who had some training, some weapon training.”
Benton pointed the good Samaritan toward the shooter.
“I spotted the [shooter] walking north up the sidewalk, and pointed him out to the guy who had the weapon, and then there was another guy who had one,” Benton remembered. “They were really screaming. They were like, ‘Stop! stop! stop! Please! Put the gun down! Please put the gun down!’ And I was pointing at him, I was like ‘Down! Put it down! Put it down!’ and they wound up exchanging fire.”
But he said the shooter didn’t drop his weapon.
“As I said, he had shooting ear protection on, and eye protection,” Benton said, “and you know, I don’t think he had any intention of dropping the weapon.”
When the exchange of gunfire started, Benton ducked behind a car until the shooting stopped.
“I popped my head up and they had taken him down. About that time, a police officer was coming around the corner, so there was a lot of confusion for the police officer just trying to figure out who’s who, and what happened here,” Benton said. “So a friend and I just walked over and said, ‘No these three guys’ (by then there was a third guy who had come), and said, ‘No, these three guys were here to help,’ and just make sure the police were OK with that.”
A chilling situation no one expects to find themselves in.
“It’s like, everyday you hear the same story but it was just very odd to be in the middle of it.”
Benton said he’ll never forget the men who took it upon themselves to put a stop to it, and shudders to think what might have happened if the shooter decided to enter the restaurant.
“If he decided to come through that front door of that restaurant, that restaurant was full of people,” he said. “But he didn’t. He fired his shots and was oddly enough walking up the sidewalk without a care in the world. It was just odd just to see him walking, and the weapon was there, and everybody could see it.”