Tulsa Shooting Victim's Niece Speaks Out

Tuesday, April 21st 2009, 12:15 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The niece of a man shot next to his apartment talks about the violence in North Tulsa. Troy Ruffin, 50, is still in critical condition after being shot in the head Monday evening at the Seminole Hills Apartments in the 1600 block of East Virgin.

The victim's 17-year-old niece was inside an apartment Monday afternoon, when four men opened fire outside. Some of those bullets broke her window and nearly killed her.

She says she was afraid for her life, until she ran outside and saw something she'll never forget.

"The more I think about it, the more I just cry," said Tiesha Russian, Ruffin's niece.

It happened in broad daylight. Balls and strikes were being called at a high school baseball game just down the street. Then shot, after shot, after shot rang out.

Police say four young men opened fire in the North Tulsa apartment complex. Tiesha Russian was braiding her cousin's hair, when her window was pierced by bullets. They ran outside.

"After we took off, I seen my uncle laying on the ground with a whole bunch of blood on the ground and his ear chipped off and a bullet had went through his head," said Russian.

Tulsa Police are looking for three men: 21-year-old Freddie "Juice" Smith, 18-year-old Starnell "Streets" Williams and 19-year-old Deontae Lovelace.

Police are also looking for a fourth male, but since he's a juvenile his name has not been released.

4/20/2009  Related story: Tulsa Man Shot In The Head Still Alive

"Honestly, I haven't been able to sleep all night because I know my baby was sitting right there," said Marsha Foster, Seminole Hills Apartments resident.

Many residents say they're afraid for their children. Marsha Foster has a 2-year-old son.

"Now I'm ready to leave, cause a lot of us had moved here cause it was one of the safest places, one of the safest complexes to be in," said Foster.

Police say the four shooters opened fire on a pickup truck down the block when the driver spotted them running away. The driver was not hurt.

Russian said her uncle was a cheerful, generous man who made the mistake of making eye contact with young gang members. She said she doesn't know when she'll ever be able to sleep peacefully again.

"I gotta think about this, I coulda been shot. And then I gotta think about my uncle, laying on that ground with a bunch of blood. It's too hard for me," said Russian.

Ruffin's wife has not left her husband's side. Police said they don't have a motive, but resident after resident told The News On 6 gang activity has increased in the area and that Ruffin was caught in a cross-fire while standing in the parking lot.

Many residents said they want to see an increased police presence at night.

If you have any information on the shooting or the suspects call Crime Stoppers at 596-COPS or text TIP 918 to CRIMES.