Police suspend training after recruit dies in accident

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- New information is emerging into the death of an Oklahoma City police recruit killed over the weekend during routine training.

The victim is identified as 38-year-old Kelley Chase.

For 15 years, most recently at Tinker Air Force Base, Chase served in the military.

When his position was eliminated, Chase sought a new job and joined the Oklahoma City Police Academy in May.

"I hope Kelley Chase is remembered as a young man who served his country faithfully," Oklahoma City Police chaplain Greg Giltner said. "He would've made a good police officer and served the city very faithfully."

Tragically, Chase never got the chance to work at a police officer.

The 38-year-old father of two died at the police training grounds after hitting his head on a padded mat during routine simulated combat with instructors.

Several recruits witnessed the injury as it happened.

"From what everyone saw, he didn't hit his head with enough force to case such an injury," OKC Police Capt. Dexter Nelson. "We don't know what happened. It appears to be a freak accident."

Capt.Nelson said the death is a sad first for the department.

"I don't recall a death in the academy," Capt. Nelson said. "People get hurt all the time but never to this extent to result in a death."

Recruit Chase leaves behind a wife and two young children.

"His wife is absolutely at a loss," Giltner said. "They have a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old. They have to go home without a dad. That's a struggle."

Police have suspended their self-defense training temporarily while the case is investigated.

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