NewsNational

Actions

Agency: 1 dead, 7 injured in Oklahoma festival shooting

Car theft suspect facing charges in police shooting
Posted at 11:37 AM, May 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-29 23:15:58-04

TAFT, Okla. (AP) — Authorities said a 26-year-old man was in custody after one person was killed and seven people were injured in a shooting early Sunday at an outdoor festival in eastern Oklahoma, where witnesses described frantic people running for cover amid gunfire.

An arrest warrant was issued for Skyler Buckner and he turned himself in to the Muskogee County sheriff's office Sunday afternoon, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. OSBI said that those shot at the Memorial Day event in Taft, located about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa, ranged in age from 9 to 56.

A 39-year-old woman was killed, OSBI said. The injuries of those wounded were considered non-life-threatening.

OSBI had earlier said two juveniles were injured in the shooting but said Sunday afternoon that only one juvenile was injured.

Witnesses said an argument preceded the gunfire just after midnight, the agency said.

“We heard a lot of shots and we thought it was firecrackers at first,” said Sylvia Wilson, an owner of Taft’s Boots Cafe, which was open at the time to serve a surge of visitors to the small town for the gathering. “Then people start running and ducking. And we were yelling at everyone... ’Get down! Get down!” Wilson said to The Associated Press by telephone from the café on Sunday morning.

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

“Bullets were literally flying everywhere,” Jasmayne Hill, who was working at a food truck during the event, told the Tulsa World.

Hill said she and Tiffany Walton, the owner of the food truck, dove to the truck's floor to avoid the bullets.

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

Neicy Bates and her husband were operating another food truck when the shots rang out. She told the Tulsa World that most people “were just going to the ground trying to get out of the way.”

“People were just screaming. Some were trying to run away. There were cars leaving, trying not to hit each other," she said.

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

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said on Twitter that he was grateful for the OSBI's “swift response to assist local police.”

Wilson estimated her café is about 100 feet (30 meters) from where the shooting broke out. She said law enforcement had been on the scene to help with security earlier and that officers reacted quickly to the shooting.

“We are upset,” Wilson said, adding: “But everything is getting back to normal... The danger has passed.”

Buckner was being held Sunday in Muskogee County jail. Jail records did not have an attorney listed for him.