SHOOTING in central Tulsa shocks neighborhood

Saturday, August 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A video store shooting in central Tulsa sends one woman to the hospital, and leaves a community asking why. The News on Six was at the scene just after the shooting happened afternoon at 5th and Lewis.

Tulsa Police had some trouble trying to communicate in the predominately Spanish speaking area when they first arrived. They told us they called every Spanish-speaking officer they had to the scene. But even then, the lines of communication were difficult to cross. A community was in shock after the owner of Perez Video was shot in what appeared to be an attempted robbery. Trish Dacana, who was next door at the time, "I heard a gun, then I heard another gun, and then the lady come screaming. I told the people I was working on to get to the back of the store. She come in there screaming, I don't speak Spanish."

Tulsa Police secured the scene and started searching for clues into the shooting. They came up with 2 suspects, several witnesses, and no motive. Despite the many unanswered questions, it wasn't their biggest problem. Tulsa Police Captain Julie Harris, "A language barrier is a big problem for us. We've called out all of our Spanish speaking officers to assist us." There were already 2 Spanish speaking officers on the scene but 6 more came to help. Police say in serious situations like these, communication is key in solving the case. Tulsa Police Cpl Brian Collum, "A lot of times when big instances happen like this we have a hard time getting them to speak English, and when we need to get concise information from these people we want a Spanish speaking officer so we can get what happened."

In this instance, there were several witnesses who did speaking English and offered their information. Christie Garfield, "We just saw him run that way and that's it, and the lady was screaming." Fortunately the woman's injuries were not life threatening. But that doesn't make it any easier to understand for the people who live here.

If you have any information about the shooting, you can make an anonymous tip to Crimestoppers, that number is 596-COPS.