WEWOKA, Okla. (KFOR) – Six people have been arrested and there could be more as investigations into possible gang wars continue in Wewoka, according to the Seminole County District Attorney.
Over the past few weeks, there have been deadly shootings and acts of violence. The Wewoka Public School announced going virtual due to safety concerns last week and several high school football games were moved.
Officials did not say much until Friday when Seminole County District Attorney Erik Johnson said that it seemed to be gang wars breaking out in the city of just over 3,000 people.
Thursday morning Johnson told KFOR that five people had been arrested in connection to the acts of violence. Thursday afternoon at a press conference Johnson with officials from the Seminole County Lighthorse Police Department announced the number to be six.
This was done through a large investigation involving members of District 22’s Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, Wewoka Police, Seminole Lighthorse, 12 U.S. Marshalls, and the Department of Corrections Inspector General’s Office over the past few days according to DA Johnson.
“I want my citizens to know that there is a lot of law enforcement saturating Wewoka right now,” said DA Johnson. “We really believe that these arrests are going to help to dampen the level of violence.”
One of the shootings happened at the EZ Mart that left one person dead and another happened last week outside of the Family Dollar according to Johnson.
Over the past few days, Johnson announced that those arrested included Mandel Carolina, Timothy Camp, Cortez Camp, Jerod Ridennour, Johnathon Hodge, and Brian Huntley.
A major concern with those who lived in Wewoka was the lack of communication between the people and officials. DA Johnson admitted that there has been a lack of official information in the past few weeks.
“It is a rare situation that we don’t experience too often. This is the first time that four news cameras have been at the Seminole Sheriff’s Office,” said Johnson. “I’ve got three offices in three counties and this is absorbing the majority of my attention over the last several days.”
KFOR asked Johnson if he had been in contact or communicated with Governor Kevin Stitt about the violence reported on within Wewoka due to the large federal, state, and tribal resources used for the investigation.
“I didn’t talk to him today,” said Johnson. “I have been in contact with the Attorney General.”
Johnson did talk about the safety of the city after these arrests and said that there could be more but he was confident it helped bring down some of the violence.
“Along with these arrests, four handguns have been seized,” said Johnson. “These arrests will certainly reduce the level of violence in Wewoka and make it a safer community. Moreover, I anticipate additional arrests being made in the coming weeks.”
In the past two weeks there have been two house fires that Johnson said the ATF are investigating if there is a connection to the shootings seen as well.
“Additionally, the departments primarily involved are not large departments with Public Information Officers or communication departments, Instead, every officer has been actively investigating and working to reduce the threat to the Wewoka Community,” said Johnson.