On 15 January, Police Chief Louis Ross was loaned a bullet resistant vest before he and other officers broke into a home in Sentinel, Oklahoma. Ross was shot three times in the chest, and once in the arm. Three of the bullets were stopped by the vest. The police had no warrant for the raid. The homeowner, Dallas Horton, was not hurt and has not been charged, and it seems unlikely that he will be. He and his wife Esther Marie, were both interviewed.
There are many things about this case that have not been widely reported.
First, Police Chief Ross *is* the police force in Sentinel. He is also the Chief. It is a one man force. He was called out of his home for the raid, according to a resident (audio recording), as he is on call 24/7. The bomb threat was called in at 4 am. The Chief is well thought of in the community.
Second, the police did not have a warrant.
Third, the police had the wrong house. The bomb threat did not originate from the house, the person who called in the threat simply said that he was Dallas Horton. It was, essentially, a crude “swatting” that the police should have figured out.
No bombs, explosives, or bomb making materials were found, even though UPI wrote that a device was allegedly found. From upi.com:
Law enforcement officials allegedly found an explosive device at Horton’s home. Horton and his wife were arrested.
I have not found any other source that corroborated this allegation. It also seems clear that neither Dallas nor Esther Marie Horton were arrested. It would be interesting to know where UPI got it from. The fact that no “bomb making materials” were found probably has more to do with the peace officers integrity than anything else. I have seen everything from fireworks and lengths of galvanized and PCP pipe, and reloading supplies, characterized as “bomb making materials”. It is hard to find a household in rural America that does *not* have “bomb making materials* if the police are inclined to find them.
The real story is that this was a swatting. There are three victims of this swatting incident. Dallas Horton and his wife Esther Marie have had their lives turned upside down, came close to being killed, and have been defamed around the world. Chief Ross was wounded in the arm. He came close to being killed as well.
Perhaps the bomb hoaxer/swatter will be found and prosecuted. It seems clear that Dallas and Esther Marie Horton will not be. Knowing a bit about small town politics, I do not see Chief Ross losing his job either. Someone at UPI should be concerned for their job, if they cannot substantiate the source for the “explosive devise”, but I doubt that anything will be done.
This is another case in a series where homeowners have shot police and have been found to have been justified in doing so. The last one was in Texas, where a Grand Jury “no billed” Henry McGee, who killed a deputy in Burleson County.
A resident of Sentinel summed it up well. From ksmb.com:
“This is country, this ain’t Oklahoma City,” Jimmy Rhoades told KFOR. “You’re taught from a young age that if somebody comes into your house to shoot.”
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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