Business owner, burglary suspect open fire

Published: Apr. 15, 2015 at 10:05 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2015 at 1:58 PM CDT
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ALTUS, Okla._Altus police are investigating after a business owner and a suspected burglar shot at each other when the owner spotted him in his business.

It happened around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday at La Munyon's on the corner of West Pecan Street and South Main Street. Police say the business owner told them he was resting in a back room, heard a noise and grabbed his gun. He said he saw a man in a hoodie, who shot at him. The owner fired back, but the man got away. No one appeared to have been hit.

"A person fired a shot at him and he fired shots in return. Then he heard more shots fired, then heard glass breaking," explained Captain Tommy Uptergrove, lead investigator.

Capt. Uptergrove says it took a lot of nerve for a guy to break into a building just one block away from the Altus Police Department.

"It was late at night and it's a business, and I think he probably thought he had a free run at the place," said Capt. Uptergrove.

When they got there, they didn't find the suspect, but did find a startled store owner.

"His words to me was this was the first time he has ever been shot at, and he was pretty shaken up. This is a life changing event," said Capt. Uptergrove.

He was only able to say he saw a man in a hoodie, but Capt. Uptergrove says there's still plenty of evidence to catch this criminal.

"There's a lot of things that can be left behind at a scene like this, fingerprints, shoe impressions, DNA…there's a lot of different ways to go about it," explained Capt. Uptergrove.

Now that they have the evidence collected, they're sending it off to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to test for fingerprints and ballistics of the casings and projectiles.

"Usually we are pretty good about getting a hit on something, and there was quite a bit left on this one," explained Capt. Uptergrove.

However, he says even though shots were fired, last night played out in one of the best ways possible.

"We were fortunate that no one was hit. It was dark in there and maybe that helped in the situation. The last thing we ever want is to have to work a homicide at one of these instead of just a property crime," said Capt. Uptergrove.

Captain Uptergrove says one of their best assets in solving these types of crimes is their Crime Stoppers tip line. If you have any information about the break in, you can leave an anonymous tip at (580) 482-8477. You may be eligible for a cash reward.