Oklahoma City, OK – Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) Sergeant Robert “Bobby” Swartz was murdered in the line of duty and another deputy was shot as they served an eviction notice on Monday.
The incident started at around 1:15 p.m. in the 2200 block of Southwest 78th Street, according to KOCO.
Three deputies were serving an eviction notice at the front door of a residence when deputies moved to the back door. No reason was provided for why the deputies moved to the back door, according to KFOR.
When the deputies were at the back door, the suspect opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, hitting two of the deputies.
At least one deputy returned fire, and the suspect fled in a pickup truck towing a boat.
Officers located the vehicle a short while later and pursued it onto I-35 and I-40, according to KOCO.
During the pursuit, the suspect opened fire on pursuing officers with his rifle. Officers returned fire but nobody was hit in the exchange, according to KOCO.
About 20 law enforcement officers pursued the suspect to the gates of Tinker Air Force Base where the suspect surrendered and was taken into custody.
Sergeant Swartz and Deputy Mark Johns were transported to OU Medical Center for gunshot wounds. The sergeant was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Deputy Johns underwent surgery and is recovering.
Sheriff Tommie Johnson broke down in tears during a news conference about the shooting.
🚨LATEST ON OKLAHOMA COUNTY DEPUTIES SHOT— Dan Snyder (@DanSnyderFOX25) August 22, 2022
Here's what we know:
– 2 OSCO deputies shot while serving lockout papers near SW 78th and Penn
– Officials say their injuries are "serious"
– Suspect in custody after chase
– Message to community from OSCO officials: "pray" @OKCFOX pic.twitter.com/dQ64o84aGW
Deputies Shot ‼️ Sky 5 shows the intense moments law enforcement captured a suspect accused of shooting two Oklahoma County deputies and waving a rifle out the window of a truck during a pursuit. https://t.co/S2y95S1MLF pic.twitter.com/ecZcvmcZAV— koconews (@koconews) August 22, 2022
The killer was later identified as 35-year-old Benjamin Plank.
Plank has been charged with first-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and use of a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon.
He as been denied bond and awaits court proceedings in the Oklahoma County Jail.
Authorities are still investigating the shooting, but Oklahoma City Police Department Chief Wade Gourley said that Plank had planned to kill police officers.
“I can tell you with 100% confidence that he was planning on killing any law enforcement that came to his house, 100%, it wouldn’t have mattered what uniform you wore that day, if you were law enforcement, that was his plan,” Chief Gourley said, according to KOKH.
Sergeant Swartz served in the U.S. Army reserves before being hired by the OCSO in 1997, according to KOCO.
The fallen officer’s son, Austin, released a statement about his father’s murder.
“My dad was an amazing man, father, grandfather, son and brother. His grandchildren affectionately called him Papa Policeman. Dad was a 25 year veteran of the Sheriff’s office. He also served his country in the United States Army. He was so proud to serve the people of his community and took great pride in helping others. He was a true family man who loved watching his granddaughter play soccer, the outdoors, fishing, hunting and of course riding his motorcycle. He was there for anyone, whenever and wherever, all you had to do was call him. I’m not sure what the world will look like without him, but I do know it is not going to be the same. My family would like to thank the community for all the prayers of support and comfort….We lost an amazing person.”
Sergeant Swartz will be laid to rest on Friday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Bobby Swartz, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Sergeant Bobby Swartz, your life mattered.