Ardmore Police Speak Out About Manhunt And Deadly Shootout - - No One Gets You Closer

Ardmore Police Speak Out About Manhunt And Deadly Shootout


ARDMORE, OK -- Less than a month after three Ardmore police officers put their lives on the line in a dramatic shootout, those policemen are now talking about the ordeal.

Investigators say Henry Jackson, 19, was shot and killed on Jan. 16 as he tried to elude law enforcement officers from several agencies.

The manhunt started after police say Jackson killed one person and wounded three others, including two ATF agents, during a 24-hour shooting spree.

It all ended in a hail of bullets after Jackson fired at three Ardmore police officers still in their patrol car, and they fired back.

Today, dashcam video taken during last month's shootout was released, along with dispatch recordings made during the exchange.

It shows the harrowing ordeal the officers faced as they tried to stop a suspected killer while protecting each other. KTEN anchor Meredith Saldaña spoke with those officers as they recalled the dramatic events of that night.

"I was told that he had shot an ATF agent, shot at other officers and of course one of our Ardmore officers, too. So I knew it wasn't going to be a pretty situation," says Officer Juan Galicia.

"I knew we had to get it over with that night before it went any further," says Ardmore Police Chief Ken Grace. "I talked to the highway patrol and they said they'd seal off the town for me and the sheriff's office would also. If it came down to it we were going to search every alley and every driveway in this city until we found him."

The officers said when they put their uniform on that night they had no idea how the night would end and how it would change their lives.

"I never would've thought he would start shooting at us when he did and we couldn't even activate our overhead lights or anything before he just started shooting at us. So, it was a crazy deal," says Officer Juan Galicia.

Most police officers train their entire career for the worst-case scenario, and thankfully, many never see that day.

"We go through a lot of training every year to make sure we're current on both firearms training, patrol tactics training, all kinds of defensive tactics training, so we prepare for it as best we can," says Capt. Eric Hamblin, who has 20 years police experience. "But, it was nothing like what I thought it was going to be."

"As soon as I turned my spotlight on, he started shooting at us," says Hamblin. "I remember seeing flashes, and I remember my windshield getting hit and I remember glass flying and I remember seeing him and him shooting at us. Then I remember some events moving around and things, but it's all so fast it's a blur."

For Officer Chris Mata, the situation was much different, but equally as terrifying. "He started firing at us. I actually seen one round come right in the middle of the windshield and hit right there," says Mata.

Mata was riding in the back seat of Hamblin's patrol car when the shooting happened. But, when Hamblin and Galicia jumped out of the car to returned fire, Mata was locked in the backseat and couldn't get out.

"What was that like for you being stuck back there while all of this was happening?" KTEN asked.

"It was miserable. I couldn't get out. I wanted to get out and help my guys knowing what was going on, knowing that shots were being fired. I wanted to get out and help them, but I couldn't get out due to the full cage and the doors. Of course, they don't unlock from the inside."

"I never would've thought getting suited up that it was going to be a situation like that involving me," says Galicia.

"They're young, got little babies at home and that was one of my primary concerns was, I've got to get these guys home. I'm a supervisor and that's my job is to get them home," says Hamblin.

All three officers have kids, and it's something that was definitely on their minds. "Yes, it was. I want to go home every night at the end of my shift. After any time we're called out, I want to go home at the end of it. And I was determined to go home," says Galicia.

Ardmore Police Chief Ken Grace had been the chief for less than two weeks. "It was a heck of a way to start off, but after seeing the way everyone reacted, I'm very proud of this police department. There's a tremendous amount of good people here and good officers and very well-trained officers," says Grace. "I don't know how a chief could be more proud of the way it was handled."

"We did what we had to do to take into custody an obviously dangerous person and I think we did our job and we did it well," says Hamblin.

"You know it's good to hear, but that's what we're trained to do. That's why I strap this uniform on every day. This is what we're here to do, to protect and serve and I'd do it every day," says Galicia.

After an investigation into the shooting, the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing. Carter County District Attorney Craig Ladd called their actions that night "nothing short of heroic."