OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – After the senseless shooting death of a Sergeant on his force – the first time one of the department’s officers has been killed in the line of duty in 87 years – an Oklahoma City Police Chief is blaming the tragedy on the rampant anti-cop sentiment and rhetoric that has swept across the country in recent years, saying that it actively encourages violence against law enforcement.
Chief Wade Gourley said that the death of Sergeant Robert Swartz, 58, on Monday resulted from a man – responsible for a series of domestic disturbances in the home he shared with his mother – who was determined to kill police officers.
On Monday, Swartz and other officers were dispatched to the home in question to aid in an eviction of the suspect; police had been called to the residence numerous times before due to conflicts between the alleged shooter and his mother, who finally wanted him out.
“Our officers had responded to this address about five times fairly recently,” Gourley said. “The incidents we were responding to were related to the mother of the suspect trying to evict the suspect from her home.”
However, when police approached the home, the unnamed suspect began shooting at them from inside; Swartz was killed, and two other officers were injured as a result, and according to Gourley, evidence shows that deadly violence against cops was the suspect’s intention from the start.
“Through our interview with him and through evidence in the house, he knew this [eviction process] was coming,” he said. “And he was very determined that, whatever law enforcement…whoever showed up at that house, he was going to take deadly action, and he did.”
The wounded officers are expected to survive, Gourley confirmed.
The suspect in the shooting is currently incarcerated at the Oklahoma County Detention Center on multiple charges, including one count of murder of a police officer and two counts of attempted murder of a police officer.
Gourley blamed the death of Swartz and the shooting of the other two officers directly on the anti-police rhetoric that is permeating every corner of the nation as of late, and called on it to stop before it gets more good cops killed.
“I think a lot of the rhetoric against police has got to stop. I feel like there’s people out there who feel like they’re justified in committing acts of violence against police, and it’s happening more and more,” Gourley said, adding that the problem is also making it difficult to recruit more officers to the force.
Swartz was a U.S Army veteran and served the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Officer since 1997.