OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR)- Saturday night was a terrifying experience for Oklahoma State Fair guests as a teenager shot another person in the chest inside the Bennett Center.
Jeremy Moses was working at a roast corn stand behind the Bennett Center.
“Everything was normal up until about a little before 9:00 p.m.,” Moses said. “All of a sudden I heard a bang.”
He assumed it was an over-exaggerated noise from an empty water bottle he had just knocked over.
Moses said a massive crowd started running towards the tent he was working at. He added people were shouting the words “run” and claiming someone was shot.
“My first thought was, ‘Okay. This could be how I go,'” stated Moses. “Once I realized the gravity of the situation, I’m like, okay, I’m going to kind of hang back. We were told not to move. My boss gave us direct orders not to leave the vicinity of our stand.”
Moses claims he was about 800 feet from where the shooting happened.
“I nearly broke down two or three times. I like to think that I can hold it together pretty well. I have my moments and that was one where I was shaken to my core because I’m like, this is the state fair. This is supposed to be safe. I’m not even safe working a temporary job at the state fair, then where am I safe?,” said Moses.
A fair-goer, Neija Imani said she was at the fair with a friend for about three hours before mass panic unfolded.
“I knew something was wrong when I saw everyone running. I didn’t hear anything. I just see everyone running towards the exit. And then I’m just looking around, seeing people fall, get trampled on. Then I see my friend holding on to the inflatable. I was just trying to figure out like where to go,” said Imani.
She told KFOR her friend has a “bad leg,” so they couldn’t run with the crowd. She added she and her friend decided to take cover behind an inflatable until the panic died down.
“It was really sad and frightening. I felt fear, but I also felt a sense of calmness because I knew I needed to stay calm for the other people, especially like the little kids, like seeing people get trampled over. It was not something that was easy to watch. Like, it was really sad. I wanted to just go over there and help them, but at the same time, like I had to protect myself and protect my friend,” explained Imani.
The shooting initially started as a fight between a group of boys.
Cellphone video provided to News 4 shows the group of boys fighting inside the Bennett Center. Before the group makes it outside a gun was drawn and a shot was fired.
The victim was laying on the concrete directly outside of the Bennett Center with a gunshot wound to his chest.
Oklahoma City Police and medical staff arrived rather quickly, according to News 4 Reporter Kaylee Olivas, who was 75 feet from where the shooting happened.
Oklahoma City police officers formed a perimeter around the victim as medical staff tended to him. He was placed on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital.
About a dozen law enforcement officials then ran towards Gate 5, where two people were arrested and a gun was recovered.
According to a police report, a 17-year-old was arrested and is now charged with aggravated assault.
News 4 will not release the suspect’s name as he is a minor.
The question on most fair-goer’s minds is how the suspect managed to get inside the state fair with a gun.
“Those metal detectors, they’re sensitive enough to go off my wheelchair. How did nobody pick up the gun?,” asked Moses.
The Oklahoma State Fair Executive Vice President of Marketing, Scott Munz told KFOR on Monday state fair officials have been reviewing surveillance footage since Saturday’s shooting. Munz said they’re looking for how the shooter got in and past detectors with a gun.
For the last three years, Munz said a metal density detector has been utilized at the Oklahoma State Fair.
Munz explained the detectors are not like “TSA detection.” He described the devices as “new technology” and “high density detectors.”
Munz confirmed the shooter did not enter the fair through one of the 10 main gates. He said he’s confident the gun didn’t go through a detector.
State officials are continuing to review surveillance, but as of Monday, Munz was still uncertain how the shooter entered the fair.
“That makes me uneasy. That makes me angry. I want accountability,” said Moses.
Moses, Imani, and another fair-goer, Kara Vera said their main concerns lie with security enforcement.
Moses explained he went through a detector with a large bag. He said his wheelchair seemingly set the detector off, but no security worker searched his bag.
Munz stated bag checks are not mandatory unless a detector turns red, meaning a person has a high metal density on their person. There are, however, spontaneous bag checks.
Vera claims security workers allowed her to enter into the fair without checking her ticket or going through a detection device.
“I could have had something in my pockets and they wouldn’t have known,” said Vera. “I think they’re just about their money. They don’t care.”
Munz said he refutes Vera’s statement, but couldn’t guarantee all security protocols were followed on Saturday night. He said he hopes security protocols were followed and if a state fair employee witnessed another not following policy, they’d let someone know.
Munz added there is a “strong level of oversight” when it comes to security workers.
Imani said her security experience heading into the fair was normal. She said she walked through the detection devices with no problem. She is, however, concerned with what she called a lack of security inside the fair.
“Whenever I was at the state fair looking around, I didn’t see that many security guards. I only saw them in the front,” stated Imani. “They could have enforced more security around all of the perimeters.”
Munz told KFOR police officers and state workers periodically monitored the fair’s perimeter fencing by golfcart.
The interior of the Oklahoma State Fair is 198 acres with 10 main entry points.
“Do we have a guard every 10 feet? No,” stated Munz.
“I want accountability. And if I have anything to do with it, there will be because what happened Saturday night was inexcusable. Bottom line,” said Moses.
Vera echoed the same remarks, saying the state fair should be held accountable in addition to the teen suspect.
Because of what happened Saturday night, Vera said big crowds make her weary.
“I just don’t trust it now. I know I shouldn’t have like that type of fear instilled inside of me, but sometimes you have to be cautious because you never know. Maybe it won’t turn out as good next time,” stated Imani.
Imani does not plan on going to next year’s Oklahoma State Fair.
Moses said he plans to come back and work at the fair again, but hopes the state fair increases security.
Oklahoma City Police have reported there is no relationship between the shooter and the victim. They do suspect the shooting as gang related.