Fierce gun bat­tle ends with fugi­tive dead

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Sean Mur­phy and Greg Mccune

OK­LA­HOMA CITY >> A fierce gun bat­tle with Ok­la­homa troop­ers left a homi­cide sus­pect dead and ended a week­long man­hunt for the man sus­pected in a string of vi­o­lent crimes across the state, in­clud­ing the killing of two rel­a­tives and the shoot­ing of three law en­force­ment of­fi­cers.

Af­ter a tip from a farmer led au­thor­i­ties on Sun­day to a camp site near Ham­mon in far west­ern Ok­la­homa, the man­hunt in­ten­si­fied for Michael Dale Vance Jr., who had posted two Face­book Live videos on Oct. 24 doc­u­ment­ing his run from po­lice, said Ok­la­homa High­way Pa­trol Capt. Paul Tim­mons.

Sev­eral troop­ers were chas­ing Vance, who was driv­ing a stolen flatbed pickup truck, when the ve­hi­cle went off the road near Leedey, 130 miles north­west of Ok­la­homa City.

“He ex­ited the ve­hi­cle and en­gaged our troop­ers in a pretty fierce gun bat­tle,” Tim­mons said. “It’s prob­a­bly safe to say he (Vance) was hit more than once.”

Vance was pro­nounced dead at the scene, and au­thor­i­ties plan to re­lease dash­board-cam­era video of the shoot­ing dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day, Tim­mons said.

Ear­lier Sun­day, Vance shot and wounded Dewey County Sher­iff Clay Sander af­ter Sander stopped a pickup truck to warn the driver about a chain drag­ging be­hind it.

“The driver of the truck stopped and ex­ited the ve­hi­cle shoot­ing an as­sault ri­fle,” said Ok­la­homa State Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion spokes­woman Jes­sica Brown. “The sher­iff was shot in the shoul­der and arm as he re­turned fire.”

Ok­la­homa High­way Pa­trol air units in the area were able to spot the ve­hi­cle, and a chase en­sued, Tim­mons said.

Sander un­der­went surgery Mon­day morn­ing and is re­cov­er­ing from his in­juries, which are not life threat­en­ing, said Dewey County of­fice deputy Judy Junk­ins.

Tim­mons said the au­thor­i­ties were tipped off to Vance’s where­abouts by a farmer who spot­ted a ve­hi­cle in his field that matched the de­scrip­tion of the car the fugi­tive was thought to be driv­ing.

“The ve­hi­cle was cov­ered with brush and tum­ble­weeds,” Tim­mons said. “It ap­pears that he had been camped out there for some time.”

Also on Mon­day, au­thor­i­ties charged three ac­quain­tances of Vance, 34-yearold Danny Roach of Ok­la­homa City, 36-year-old April Harden, and 33-yearold Regi­nald Moore, with aid­ing Vance af­ter he had shot and wounded two Well­ston po­lice of­fi­cers and killed two rel­a­tives.

Roach pro­vided Vance with ban­dages, an as­sault ri­fle and am­mu­ni­tion last week af­ter Vance came to his home in Ok­la­homa City, said Ok­la­homa County Sher­iff John Whet­sel.

“Roach ad­mit­ted he was aware that Vance had just been in a shootout with law en­force­ment, and he also knew that Vance had just killed two peo­ple,” Whet­sel said.

All three were charged Mon­day with two counts of ac­ces­sory to felony murder af­ter the fact, and Roach was charged with two counts of pos­ses­sion of a firearm af­ter a felony con­vic­tion. Roach and Moore each also face two counts of shoot­ing with in­tent to kill be­cause they pro­vided the weapon Vance used in the shoot­ing of the Dewey County sher­iff and of a man near Sayre dur­ing an at­tempted car­jack­ing.

Court records don’t in­di­cate if any of the three has been as­signed an at­tor­ney.

Vance was wanted on mul­ti­ple charges, in­clud­ing two counts of first­de­gree murder. The hunt be­gan af­ter he shot and wounded two po­lice of­fi­cers on Oct. 23 in Well­ston, 35 miles north­east of Ok­la­homa City, au­thor­i­ties said.

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