Police: Suspect In Tulsa Standoff Acted Strangely At Oologah Businesses
OOLOGAH, Oklahoma - Police say the woman involved in a 90-minute standoff visited several businesses before going to Tulsa’s Air National Guard base.
An employee at one of those businesses said 29-year-old Heather Thomas was acting strangely and asking for medical help.
According to police, Thomas visited at least three places before the standoff - a gas station, a fire station and a grocery store.
Workers said Thomas asked for help but then refused it, and she kept talking about the Air Force.
Sydney House works the morning shift at Pump'n Pete's at U.S. 169 and Highway 88. She said, just after 8 a.m., Thomas came into the store, talking to herself.
House said, "It was bad. She was scaring other people, too."
She and her manager asked the woman if she needed help and called 911. But when emergency crews arrived, they said Thomas started yelling and refusing to cooperate.
"She just started yelling at everybody, saying, 'I need to talk to my sister, my sister's in the Air Force. I need to talk to my mom.' We just, we tried to talk to her, tried to calm her down. She was like - no. She wouldn't take any help," House said.
Eventually, Thomas got up and left.
Lieutenant Josh Copeland with the Northwest Fire District said, "When she left, you know, walked away from us, that's considered a refusal for us, so you can't force anybody."
Authorities said she walked to the Northwest Fire District station and did the same thing - asked for help but then refused it; then again at the Apple Market down the street.
She arrived at the Air National Guard around 11 a.m. Authorities said she pulled up to the front gate and told employees she had a bomb in the truck.
More than 350 personnel took shelter in the base during the hour-and-a-half standoff.
Lieutenant Jennifer Proctor said, "You train for everything. You hope it never comes but you try to be ready in case it does."
Police officers eventually took Thomas into custody; she received a mental health evaluation.
Officers sent a robot to inspect the truck and found no explosives.
Thomas was involved in a standoff last August with Rogers County deputies after locking herself and family members in a house for several hours.
They arrested her on domestic abuse charges, including hitting a minor.