LAWTON, Okla. – The four suspects in Tuesday's brutal home invasion in Lawton are Fort Sill soldiers. Police Chief Ronnie Smith confirmed that today.
The four are in the city jail tonight. Police believe they are responsible for shooting four people and injuring 2 others in the early-morning hours, Tuesday. Today, Smith says they have been swamped with phone calls regarding possible threats to military personnel.
7News learned that Altus Air Force Base posted on its Facebook that military members of that installation are being asked not to travel to and from the Lawton area while wearing their military uniforms. It says it is because of what it calls a, "credible criminal threat" in connection to Tuesday's shootings.
Fort Sill also released a statement that says "there has been an unsubstantiated threat to soldiers in the Lawton area". It also says post officials have advised soldiers to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement officials.
7News talked with officials from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. They released a statement that said "In light of a gang related incident that occurred earlier this week, Tinker military members were being asked to use caution when traveling through the Lawton area, and to not wear their uniforms for extended periods of time while shopping or dining."
Tinker officials are the only people 7News has talked to that has said Tuesday's shooting was gang-related. The statement went on to say "at the present time there is no known threat to any military installation in the Oklahoma region."
Smith says for now, Tuesday's shooting has, in fact, not been ruled as an incident that was fueled by gang activity. He says the only gang tie as of now, is that some of Lawton gang members have been heard claiming the victims of the shooting were members of their gang and because of that, they are seeking revenge.
The Facebook message posted by Altus Air Force Base raised many questions and concerns. It claims "due to a credible criminal threat military personnel have been asked not to travel to and from Lawton while in military uniform until further notice". Smith says no "credible threat" has been made.
"It is rumors, third and fourth hand," said Smith.
Rumors Smith says were created in a usual place of gossip.
"It started in a barber shop, that someone told the solider that soldiers were going to be shot. That gang members said they would retaliate for the home invasion the other night," said Smith.
Smith says though there has not been a confirmed gang threat, he does not doubt if gang members were involved in this week's shooting that they are talking about it.
"Do I believe that gang members are spouting off? Yeah, I believe they are mouthing off saying they're going to retaliate. Will they? I don't know, but we will prosecute them to the full extent of the law if they do."
At this time, Lawton Police have not told 7News if any of the suspects in custody are suspected gang members. But Smith says the gang task force unit, detectives, and special ops are all actively working this case.
7News also talked with Sheppard Air Force Base officials who said they are not operating under heightened security nor have they asked their personnel to stay away from the Lawton area. But they did say they were made aware of the heightened awareness measures other installations were taking.
LAWTON, Okla. – Names of Tuesday morning suspects in home invasion have not been released, but Lawton Police Chief Ronnie Smith has confirmed the four men arrested are Fort Sill soldiers.
Today, rumors abound over alleged threats to military personnel. Fort Sill sent 7News the following press release concerning the rumors:
There has been an unsubstantiated threat to Soldiers in the Lawton area. The Lawton Police Department continues to investigate the credibility of that threat.
However, military officials learn of threats through various channels in the normal course of doing business.
Although this threat has yet to be substantiated, post officials have advised Soldiers to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement officials.
The post maintains prudent security measures.
Fort Sill's law enforcement officials and Lawton Police Department officials will continue to assess the situation to ensure the safety of Lawton and Fort Sill residents.
Altus Air Force Base posted on its Facebook page that military members of that installation are being asked not to travel to and from the Lawton area while wearing their military uniforms, because of what they call a credible criminal threat in connection to Tuesday's shootings.
The message posted by Altus AFB -- 97 Air Mobility Wing reads as follows:
"Due to a credible criminal threat, military members are directed by the 97th AMW vice commander not to travel to and from the Lawton, Okla. area while wearing military uniforms until further notice. For more information, please contact your chain of command."
When asked on their Facebook page what happened, AAFB responded:
"Nothing 'happened' just a 'credible threat' as stated. So be aware of surroundings and don't highlight yourself as military by wearing a uniform."