Trooper hit in Talihina shootout receiving new vest

The scene of the May 11 shootout and fire in downtown Talihina. // Photo by Amanda CorbinThe scene of the May 11 shootout and fire in downtown Talihina. // Photo by Amanda CorbinTrooper Sammy LeeTrooper Sammy Lee's shot vest.Trooper Sammy Lee's shot vest.
Amanda Corbin
News Reporter

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper who took a bullet to his ballistic vest during a shootout in Talihina this May will receive a new vest, OHP said.

Trooper Sammy Lee will be presented with the new vest during a ceremony in Oklahoma City on Thursday morning.

Lee and troopers Brett Stephens, Brandon Seward, Christopher Bunch, Chance Tuttle, Jason Ross and Timothy Wesley were assisting Talihina Police Department to serve a felony warrant at the residence of Bradley Webster on May 11 in Talihina when troopers say Webster opened fire on the team. A bullet hit Lee on his ballistic vest, while the remaining troopers all received minor injuries in the shootout. Webster, 52, died at the scene.

According to OHP, "As the team was being evaluated by medics, it was discovered that Trooper Lee had been struck in his ballistic vest by a bullet fragment. The vest had stopped the projectile in the lower right torso."

Search warrant documents said when the tactical team breached the door of the residence, they deployed a diversionary device on a pole through a window, then extricated the device. This is when troopers say Webster began firing. The lawmen returned fire and took cover. Then, a fire began and consumed the building with Webster inside.

The warrant came about after Talihina Police Chief Rodney Faulkenberry arrested another man for active warrants. The man claimed he saw multiple guns in Webster's home, and further alleged that Webster, a convicted felon, had the weapons because he "was not going back to jail and was ready to go on a shooting spree at city hall."

The man detailed Webster's past, where he shot and killed two men who broke into his home in Mena, Ark., in 2006. The men reportedly attempted to rob his marijuana grow operation. Law enforcement reportedly uncovered 292 plants from the home.

Webster was not charged in the deaths due to self defense, but did receive endangering the welfare of a minor and drug- and firearm-related charges.

Due to the history, law enforcement requested the no-knock warrant.

The scene ignited a multi-agency response from LeFlore and surrounding counties. Eighteen fire departments responded to contain the fire, which left two buildings destroyed and others damaged. It garnered national press coverage.