Tulsa Police: Store Owner Shoots Disruptive Customer At Gas Station

Sunday, April 3rd 2016, 3:20 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa County Sheriff's Office responded to a shooting at the ZenZel Plaza gas station at Pine and Martin Luther King Boulevard Sunday afternoon. 

Police said a customer came in the store and caused a disturbance, swinging a makeshift weapon around and throwing trash cans.

The store owner was afraid and fired one round at the customer, hitting him in the torso, authorities said.

"We were terrified," store owner Elvia Gist said. "We kept telling him, 'call the police, we have called the police.' He said, 'call the police, I don't care! Call them, let them come, let them come.' We kept trying to have him leave, please leave, but he refused to do that."

TPD Sgt. Kurt Dodd said there had been an incident of some kind with the customer Saturday night, and he returned to the store around 2 p.m.

"Immediately started to yell, scream, curse all kinds of words that I cannot repeat myself," Gist said.

She says she convinced the man and the woman with him...to go outside.

She locked the doors, and called 911, but dispatch put her on hold. She says the man then started harassing customers in the parking lot and got into a fight with two of them.

"Then when I see the two guys were attacking him and holding him down, because he was so belligerent, I called 911 again, I said, 'You need to come down here, they're going to come down!' Same thing. The recording was in English and in Spanish."

That's when she says the man swung his weapon at the door and broke the glass. Police say *they have surveillance video of the whole thing.

"It looked like it was a possibly maybe a lock on the end of a rope or belt, and he was swinging that around, obviously enough if it hit you, it could do some serious damage," Dodd said.

And it did serious damage to the door.

That's when Elvia's husband Rick shot the man in the chest...something Elvia says he did *not want to do...but they feared for their lives.

"Where is this, the 911 when we need them? Where are they? This is an emergency, this is a true emergency," Gist said.

A supervisor at Tulsa's 911 dispatch center says they are investigating this matter to find out what happened. She says lack of staffing is an issue right now and operators were very busy today.

Elvia says a sheriff's deputy just happened to be driving by this afternoon and he stopped and called police.

The wounded man was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he's said to be stable.