Tulsa standoff ends peacefully

Tuesday, September 23rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A nearly 10-hour standoff in north Tulsa ends peacefully Tuesday evening, but not without the threat of violence shutting down a neighborhood and putting nearby schools on alert.

News on 6 reporter Heather Johnson was there when it ended. Tulsa Police were called Tuesday morning to the East Admiral Court home after they say 33-year old Robert Boatman began firing a weapon at his neighbors.

When officers arrived, Boatman fired at them. Police spent the next several hours trying to diffuse a potentially deadly situation. Canister after canister of tear gas had little effect on the armed man inside. Witness John Novesky: "Every time they'd shoot four or five tear gas canisters in, he'd fire back, with what seemed like a 12-gauge. They just kept doing it and he'll shoot back." As they ordered Robert Boatman to come out with his hands empty, police set up a perimeter urging neighbors to stay back. “That was scary."

"We heard 5 gunshots, I thought it was time to go pick up my kids." Nearby schools were put on alert. Officials did not want neighborhood kids walking home through a danger zone, so they kept students living in the standoff area at school until parents could pick them up. Concerned parent DeeDee Avery: “heard on the news that the school was in lockdown we figured they were safe, but we just wanted to come and get them to be really sure."

Outside Boatman's home the situation remained at a tense standstill. Special Ops personnel held back. He had already fired a weapon and with a history of mental illness. Tulsa Police spokesman Scott Walton says Boatman was unpredictable. "We had no doubt he was capable of doing that and would do that that's probably some of the reasons why entry was delayed."

Finally, 10 hours later, and after calling his attorney, Boatman surrendered. Although the stand off ended peacefully it did tie up personnel and equipment for hours not to mention shutting down the neighborhood for the entire day. Police, EMSA, the fire department, even the Red Cross responded. "There's a lot of people that did spend the day out here, it’s hard to come up with a figure on that the bottom line is it ended on a good note this man was taken into custody with no one being harmed."

Despite that fact, police say Boatman will likely face criminal charges, possibly assault with a deadly weapon. The District Attorney will ultimately decide.