Woodward, OK – An Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) trooper was shot during a gunfight with an irate motorist who ultimately fled the scene and holed up in an unsuspecting homeowner’s outbuilding, dashcam footage showed (video below).
The incident began at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 26, when OHP Trooper Austin Ellis spotted a man driving without a seatbelt, KTUL reported.
The man, later identified as Arturo Ramirez, initially refused to pull over, so Trooper Ellis pursued him into the parking lot of a Days Inn hotel, where the driver stopped, dashcam footage showed.
“Hey!” the trooper yelled at the driver from just outside his patrol vehicle.
“What?” Ramirez retorted, as he threw his driver’s door open.
Trooper Ellis repeatedly ordered Ramirez to get out of the vehicle, but the motorist remained planted in the driver’s seat.
“What for?” Ramirez asked the trooper.
When Trooper Ellis pointed out that he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, failed to use a turn signal, and refused to pull over, Ramirez began arguing with him from inside his vehicle.
“Let me see your hands!” Trooper Ellis ordered repeatedly, as Ramirez continued to sit inside his car. “Let me see your hands or I kill you tonight!”
The video then went to a split-screen, and showed both the dashcam footage and a second angle that appeared to have been recorded by someone in a nearby building.
The second angle showed Ramirez rummaging around inside the vehicle as he ignored the trooper’s commands to exit the car and to show his hands.
At one point in the video, Ramirez suddenly leaned forward, and appeared to reach underneath his seat – a move that Trooper Ellis immediately spotted.
“Hey, hey, hey, don’t be reaching down there,” he told the suspect. “Just get out of the car.”
Within a second, Ramirez stepped out of the vehicle and opened fire on the trooper.
Trooper Ellis immediately returned fire, at which point Ramirez stumbled backwards into the seat.
But a moment later, he emerged from the car again, and fired more rounds at the trooper.
Ramirez then got back into the car and sped out of the hotel parking lot while Trooper Ellis continued to shoot at his vehicle.
The trooper began pursuing the gunman, and radioed for assistance.
As he flew down the highway behind Ramirez, Trooper Ellis grabbed a rifle, ensured it was ready to use, and rested the gun’s stock on his right shoulder.
He later radioed that he believed he had been hit in the left side of his vest during the shootout.
Ramirez ultimately turned up a long driveway towards a residence, then stopped his car and took off into an outbuilding, the video showed.
“A perimeter was established with cooperation from local law enforcement. And a suspect was apprehended by the Oklahoma Highway patrol,” OHP Colonel Mike Harrell told KWTV.
Ramirez sustained a gunshot wound to the hand during the shootout with Trooper Ellis.
The trooper was transported to a local hospital by air ambulance.
“The bullet actually did not penetrate the body, but there was enough force inside the vest compartment that it caused that fractured rib,” Col. Harrell told KTWV.
The massive impact also caused internal bleeding.
Trooper Ellis has since been released from the hospital, but is still on leave, according to KTWV.
“I tell everybody almost every day, these guys are my heroes,” Col Harrell said. “They face an unknown danger every time they step outside that car.”
Ramirez was charged with multiple offenses, including shooting with intent to kill.
You can watch footage of the incident below: