WEWOKA, Okla. (KFOR) – After weeks of gang shootings, house fires, and the city nearly shutting down due to safety concerns officials in Wewoka finally have told their citizens what has been happening.
“Just talk to us, communication is the first step, and as a parent, it’s scary not knowing what’s going on,” said Jay Williams.
Williams said he’s lived in big cities throughout Tennessee as well as Oklahoma City before moving his boys and family back home to Wewoka.
“We came back for that smaller, tighter community feeling,” said Williams. “Around here you can feel safe knowing your kids can walk over to the skate park or to school without trouble but not anymore.”
This recent week he said there was a shooting at the local Family Dollar. Williams said he was coming home from work when he saw law enforcement outside, he snapped a picture.
Before the reported shooting there was a house fire that destroyed a man’s home. Williams sent a video of the dramatic scene that happened that night.
Williams and several other parents from Wewoka who contacted KFOR also said that a teenager was shot.
“But nobody is saying anything and it doesn’t feel safe anymore for my family,” said Williams. “It makes me want to leave. The way people are acting out here I don’t even want to let them outside. Hell, we might even have to move back to the city.”
The same week that these events happened Wewoka Public Schools posted on their Facebook page and announced that Friday’s school would be held virtually and pointed to the safety of their students and staff being the number one priority.
KFOR contacted the Superintendent’s office and was told there would be a call back but there never was.
Then almost within the same couple of hours, The Wewoka Sorghum Festival which is held annually was canceled. The group pointed to the reason as adverse weather conditions. They said that vendors would have their money refunded.
Jesse Grandstaff at Security State Bank told KFOR that the reason was due to the weather and pointed to the post that was made on Facebook as the statement behind the cancelation.
“We don’t know what is going on! Are we going to be shot out on the street? We just want someone to communicate with us,” said Williams. “It’s really not that hard. We all know what’s going on and we know that it is definitely not due to weather. Let us know if it’s safe or not because right now it doesn’t feel safe.”
KFOR called Wewoka Police and was told that the Chief of the Wewoka Police Department would call back but never did. KFOR stayed outside of the department for nearly seven hours Friday and was told the Chief would be by to talk but never showed up.
The Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police eventually posted about the situation Friday night on Facebook:
“The Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police Department has been actively investigating several major crimes in the City of Wewoka. These crimes are related to gang activity between two gangs. The targets of the violence are known associates of the two gangs. From information gathered during the investigations, they are retaliating against each other after an incident that occurred earlier this year.
We have not been made aware of any direct threats. The two gangs are fighting against each other. Unfortunately, the violence has escalated and has been brought into local businesses causing concern within the community.
The Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police Department is working closely with Federal and State law enforcement agencies to apprehend and prosecute any and all perpetrators responsible for the ongoing violence within the City of Wewoka.”Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police
“I just want to know if my family will be safe,” said Williams.