Crowd Turns Violent During Tulsa Standoff

Sunday, April 15th 2007, 4:55 pm
By: News On 6

A mob turns violent with Tulsa Police during a standoff with a homicide suspect. Officers cornered the suspect at an apartment complex in the 2200 block on North Hartford, but that standoff quickly attracted dozens of area residents. Tulsa Police eventually arrested the man they were looking for, 19-year-old Rico Starks. The News On 6’s Chris Wright reports getting him into custody proved more difficult than anticipated.

Tulsa Police went to the Morning Star Apartments to find Starks. He was charged in February for the 2006 murder of 18-year-old Mark Jordan. After being confronted, Starks barricaded himself in an apartment and refused to come out. Police say that's when the situation started to get out of control. A crowd started gathering, and it quickly became larger and angrier.

"These guys on scene first here had a very scary, high risk job to maintain the integrity of that building and not get anyone hurt," said Tulsa Police officer Scott Walton.

Police say the mob soon swelled to more than 100 people. Authorities tell the News On 6, members of the crowd began jumping on cars, vandalizing police vehicles, throwing rocks and shots were even fired. An estimated 75 officers, including members of the Special Operations Unit, were called in to control the crowd.

"It was definitely a mob mentality,” said Walton. “They moved on these officers. They were able to keep their spots and keep the suspect contained in the apartment before he came out of there."

Starks did eventually come out of the apartment, surrendering to police shortly after 11 p.m. Tulsa Police say they are not sure exactly why the situation escalated the way it did, but considering the size of the mob, it could have ended differently.

"We are fortunate that no bystanders, officers, anybody was hurt,” Walton said. “It was a difficult task to take care with the few officers on hand at first."

In addition to the murder charge, Starks also had an outstanding warrant for second-degree burglary.

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04/14/2007 Murder Suspect Arrested After North Tulsa Standoff