Neighbors Evacuated When Muskogee Standoff Leads To House Fire
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - A standoff in Muskogee had people in one neighborhood on edge for hours Tuesday. It began after U.S. Marshals tried to serve a felony warrant, which led to a house fire and the wanted man jumping from a window of the burning home.
Neighbors watched it all unfold and some of them had their cameras rolling for the more than six-hour negotiation process.
"It's crazy. It's something to wake up to," neighbor Sarah Ponder said.
At 7:30 Tuesday morning, she looked out her window and saw police cars lining the streets and Special Operations Team members in her yard.
“First they we like ‘stay inside' and then, whenever, I guess, they decided they were gonna start tear gassing, the little flashers and stuff, they were like ‘you need to evacuate the house,'" Ponder said.
U.S. Marshals were after 31-year-old Blake Holladay, for a number of outstanding felony warrants that included charges of child endangerment and writing bad checks.
12/2/2014 Related Story: Wanted Man In Custody After Standoff Ends In Muskogee House Fire
Muskogee Police Sergeant, Mike Mahan said, "Pretty extensive criminal history and I'm assuming from his actions, was probably thinking he's gonna go to prison for a while and wasn't willing to comply."
With negotiations failing, Special Ops members threw tear gas in the home. Soon after, it began to burn and smoke billowed from the windows.
"I was standing in the front yard and I heard the police saying ‘Jump, jump, jump. Come on, get down, get down, jump,'" said Ponder.
It was then, police said, Holladay jumped from the second story and they took him into custody.
They said he didn't live in the house, but knew the person renting it and had possibly broken in.
"We know the renter pretty well and we'd called him and told him what was going on and he was in tears. Everything he owned, everything he had was in this house," Ponder said.
There was an extra level of intensity to the situation after police learned Holladay was willing to shoot at officers and possibly had a handgun.
"Anytime we go into a scene we have to, you know, assume the worst, but when you have particular intelligence that someone's armed and threatening police you're always gonna ramp it up a little bit," Mahan said.
As for what exactly started the fire, the fire marshal spent the day investigating the scene and the findings are expected in the next few days.