ALTUS, OK (KSWO) – Altus Police are now giving more information into what, exactly, led to a man being wrongly accused as a murderer.
On Tuesday, Michael Moore's picture was broadcast on TV and online, accompanied by the message that he was armed and dangerous. Police believed he was the man responsible for the murder of Quincy Brown after an eyewitness said she saw Moore commit the crime. Several hours later, Altus Police announced Moore was no longer a suspect, saying that Gaylon Dorsey had been arrested for the crime.
Michael Moore currently lives in Abilene, Texas, which is a little under 200 miles away from Altus. He said he was eating lunch with his wife when he started getting texts and Facebook messages asking him if he was a murderer.
"It was scary but I had to stay calm knowing the situation," Moore said. "Knowing that if they caught me and found me, and I've got my family, there's no telling what way that would have turned out. Especially in this day and age, cops don't want to lose their lives but I don't want to lose my life, especially for something I didn't do."
Altus Police Chief Tim Murphy said the murder happened at approximately 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday. He said they quickly identified an eyewitness of the murder and brought her to the station to interview her.
"During that interview, they had given us a name of a suspect and that name being Michael Moore. We didn't just pick Michael Moore's name out of thin air and make him a suspect in this homicide. This is the information that was given to us by a witness who was in the home during the homicide," Murphy said.
Based on that information, at 3:51 p.m., police named Moore as a suspect in the murder and asked anyone with information to call them.
"We got the information and relayed it to the public as quickly as we could for the public's safety and, a law enforcement side of it, for their safety in case they come across this vehicle," Murphy said.
"I was like y'all said it just happened 20 minutes ago, I'm three hours away. They instantly put me all over the news like I'm armed and dangerous," Moore said.
Moore said when this information reached him, he immediately called the Altus Police Department to clear his name, but Murphy said that phone call alone was not enough.
"They just said where are you at. I'm like look I'm in Abilene Texas, I didn't do it and they just said look you need to turn yourself in," Moore said.
"Unfortunately, people are not always honest with the police," Murphy said. "We have a caller on the phone one who is identifying himself as Michael Moore. We don't know that's Michael Moore, he's just identified himself as Michael Moore. At that point, we encourage him to turn himself into Abilene Police."
Moore did not wish to turn himself in and eventually police caught the real suspect, Gaylon Dorsey, and cleared Moore. Moore said he recently relocated to Abilene and feels this misunderstanding could make things more difficult as he tries to get his life back on track.
"It's very frustrating and I've been trying to get a job and y'all have put my name out there as a murderer now," Moore said. "People will look at that when I'm looking for a job like I just seen this guy on the news a couple days ago. Well, it was the wrong person but now you have a preconceived notion of me."
Murphy said he is sorry Moore was incorrectly named, but there is one thing he will not apologize for.
"I feel bad that Michael Moore's name was put out as a suspect but I don't feel bad putting the information out to the public for their safety and the officers' safety. I had to do that," Murphy said.
7NEWS asked Murphy if there was anything that could be done differently to prevent something like this from happening again. He reiterated that he is sorry Michael Moore was brought into this wrongly but said he would not do anything different next time and that it is his duty to make sure the public has the latest information so they can stay safe.
As for Gaylon Dorsey, the real suspect, he has not been officially charged with murder but is being held in the Jackson County Jail.