Shooting at Oklahoma Memorial Day Festival leaves 1 dead and 7 wounded

TAFT, Okla. – Authorities said one person was killed and seven injured in a shooting early Sunday at an outdoor festival in eastern Oklahoma, with witnesses describing how desperate people ducked for cover as the gunfire erupted.

Two youths were among those shot dead at the Memorial Day event near Taft, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

Witnesses said an argument preceded the shooting just after midnight, the agency said. No one was arrested, it said.

“We heard a lot of gunshots and at first we thought it was fireworks,” said Sylvia Wilson, an owner of Taft’s Boots Cafe, which was open at the time to accommodate a flood of visitors to the small town for the Memorial Day weekend gathering serve . “Then people start running and crouching. And we all yelled at… ‘Get down! Get off!” Wilson told The Associated Press over the phone from the coffee shop on Sunday morning.

About 1,500 people attended the event in Taft, which normally has a population of just a few hundred. Members of the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office were present and began providing assistance immediately, OSBI said.

Bullet holes in the Country Queen food truck at the scene of a fatal shooting that occurred at a Memorial Day event
Bullet holes in Kountry Queen’s food truck.
AP/Ian Maule/Tulsa World
Bullet holes in the Country Queen food truck
Two teenagers were shot dead at the Memorial Day event.
AP/Ian Maule/Tulsa World

The agency gave no further details, including the condition of the injured. The Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office referred the AP to OSBI for more information. A spokeswoman for the bureau said her agency may have updates later on Sunday.

“Bullets literally went everywhere,” Jasmayne Hill, who worked on a food truck during the event, told Tulsa World.

Hill said she and Tiffany Walton, the food truck owner, jumped to the bottom of the truck to avoid the bullets.

Kountry Queens food truck owner Tiffany Walton speaks to the media at the scene of a shooting on a Memorial Day
Kountry Queens food truck owner Tiffany Walton speaks to the media at the scene.
AP/Ian Maule/Tulsa World
bullet holes
A witness claims an argument broke out before the shooting began.
AP/Ian Maule/Tulsa World

“We think we’re safe, and the bullets are like going through the floor of a food truck,” Hill said. “They didn’t hit us, thank God.”

Neicy Bates and her husband were serving another food truck when the shots rang out. She told Tulsa World that most people “just went down and tried to get out of the way.”

“People just screamed. Some tried to run away. Cars pulled away trying not to run over each other,” she said.

Walton, who lives in Taft, said the city has held a multi-day festival over Memorial Day weekend for decades.

Kevin Stitt, Governor of Oklahoma said on Twitter Grateful for OSBI’s “quick response in support of local law enforcement and confident in Oklahoma law enforcement’s ability to bring accountability to those responsible for this fatal incident.”

Wilson estimated that their cafe is about 30 meters from where the shooting broke out. She said law enforcement had been on the scene earlier to help with security and officers responded quickly to the shooting.

“We’re upset,” Wilson said, adding, “But everything’s going back to normal… The danger has passed.” Shooting at Oklahoma Memorial Day Festival leaves 1 dead and 7 wounded


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