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Friends, family talk about suspect in Talihina shootout

A fire that started during the shootout, destroyed the building that contained the suspect’s apartment and the building next door. (KTUL)

TALIHINA, Okla. (KTUL) – It may be Friday before investigators can publicly identify a suspect who was killed in a raid in downtown Talihina.

The state medical examiner is now working to confirm his identity after he died in a burning building during a shootout with law enforcement.

The Talihina police and friends of the suspect’s family say he was a survivalist who had a drug record in Arkansas.

Talihina Police Chief Rodney Faulkenberry said there was talk he had weapons including assault rifles.

RELATED I Talihina community reeling from aftermath of devastating fire, deadly shootout

So, they conducted the raid at about 6 a.m. last a Friday to arrest him on suspicion of having illegal weapons, because he has a felony record.

Faulkenberry said there were also rumors that he would not allow himself to be taken back to prison, and he was concerned it was a high-risk raid.

Faulkenberry said, “We could have very easily served this warrant and got a lot of guys killed, and we almost did anyway. They always say bring in the professionals and that's what we did.”

Four state troopers were wounded when they were greeted by gunfire and an explosion, but they’ll be okay.

A fire that started during the shootout, destroyed the building that contained the suspect’s apartment and the building next door.

A man who witnessed the raid from his gas station across the street, said it was a wild scene.

Tony Spike said, “The tactical team out there getting behind the vehicles, because of the stray rounds and the front of the building blew off.”

Spike said he knew the man who lived in the building and the situation didn’t surprise him.

"Delusional, he believed in every conspiracy theory there was. I pushed him out of here a couple of years ago, because I just couldn’t listen to him anymore," Spike said.

Friends of the victim’s family don’t deny the accusations about weapons, but they say the suspect had been trying to start a business and turn his life around.

The people who live in Talihina said it’s small consolation when two key buildings burned down right in the heart of their town.

Long-time resident Cliff King said, “I can’t comprehend that one person can cause that much damage and heartache.”

A town that has struggled economically now has some blackened ruins at its main intersection, but they are anxious to move on from last weekend’s violence.

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