A Tulsa Police SWAT sniper ended a multi-hour hostage situation and saved the life of a toddler with one trigger press at exactly the right moment in the dead of night.
A man who authorities allege forced his way inside his estranged wife’s east Tulsa home with a gun and took her 2-year-old daughter hostage was fatally shot by a police sniper early Tuesday.
Officers responded to a reported domestic-related call at a residence in the 4300 block of South 170th East Avenue shortly before midnight. Upon their arrival, a woman told them her estranged husband forced his way inside her home and grabbed her youngest child, a 2-year-old girl, while armed with a gun, police spokesman Leland Ashley said.
Police attempted to make contact with the man, who Ashley said “spoke very little English.” A Spanish-speaking officer made multiple requests for him to release the child, and the man eventually stepped onto the second-floor balcony while holding the girl with one hand and the gun with the other, Ashley said.
Officers indicated the man pointed the firearm at them and the girl during the standoff, which continued for several hours.
Shortly after 3 a.m., the man reportedly returned to the doorway of the balcony while holding the child’s hand. He was then shot and killed by a sniper with one of the department’s special operations teams.
I can’t begin to imagine the mental stress placed upon that officer as he waited for the suspect to return to that balcony and point the gun away from his toddler hostage long enough that he would have the time to take the life-saving shot.
The child was unscathed in the incident, and is fortunately young enough that she probably won’t remember it when she is older.
The officer who made the shot that took out the hostage-taker is on administrative leave.