MUSKOGEE, Okla. – A gunman killed an adult male and five children Tuesday in this northeast Oklahoma community, police said. A seventh wounded victim, a woman, was hospitalized in stable condition.
Police said they captured the gunman at the deadly scene – a small, residential home -- as he fled on foot when they arrived in response to a report of gun shots in the neighborhood about 1:30 a.m.
An officer fired a shot that missed the suspected shooter but police quickly ran him down and arrested him. Police said he was wielding a gun.
Police identified the suspected gunman at a noon press conference as Jarron Deajon Pridgeon, 25. The identities of the victims or ages of the children were not immediately released.
Police found the adult male and four children dead at the scene. A wounded fifth child was also found in the home but the child died after being transported to a Tulsa hospital.
Police said the shootings were not random. They did not immediately know the motive. Nor did they say if the suspected gunman was related to the victims.
Neighbors said the victims had only moved to the home at 902 Indiana Street three or four weeks ago. They said they didn’t know their names or anything about them.
Muskogee public school officials confirmed some of the children were students in the district.
School administrators said they’re providing grief counseling through the remainder of the week, and urged children affected by the tragedy to seek assistance.
Neaoma Nitter, who lives across the street from the murder scene, said she heard shots around 1:30 a.m. Nitter said she never saw anything unusual, or noticed any traffic moving in or out of the house.
Damon Smith, who lives a few houses down, said he regularly walked his dog, Katy Bell, past the residence.
“The kids, they were always waving at me,” Smith said, adding there were usually about three of them. “It's a big shock."
Smith and another neighbor, Pamela Roughface, brought flowers to the property after they learned of the shooting deaths.
Online court records show that the suspected gunman was arrested in 2017 for larceny of an automobile. In February 2019, he was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, threatening to perform acts of violence, and misdemeanor malicious injury to private property. In June 2019, he was charged with obstruction, resisting an officer, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
Hamlin, the police spokeswoman, said Muskogee officers are experiencing "shock, disbelief, sadness" over the shooting deaths.
"We're concerned about our officers," she said. "It affects our whole community."
Kim Poindexter and Keri Thornton of the Tahlequah Daily Press, Derrick James of the McAlester News-Capital and Cathy Spaulding of the Muskogee Phoenix contributed to this story.