A possible murder weapon has been recovered in connection with the shooting death of a Norman man.
Cleveland County resident Albert L. Rider, 53, was transferred to OU Medical Center because of a gunshot wound to the chest after crashing his van into a residence in western Pottawatomie County.
He reportedly told the owners of the residence that his house, in Cleveland County, had been robbed and he had been shot. Rider died at OU Medical Center before being able to give any more information to police officers.
Three suspects were apprehended Tuesday in connection with Rider’s death, after a cell phone with a bloody fingerprint was found at the scene. Suspects include James Isaac South, 35, Michael Preston Choate, 24, and Bradley Austin Keith, 28.
With the help of one of the suspects, officers from the Sheriff’s office and the Pottawatomie County District Attorney’s office, a .357 Magnum handgun belonging to the victim was found near the crime scene, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said.
Additionally, a jacket belonging to the victim was found.
Officers located the missing .357 handgun and Cleveland County officers located another missing gun. With these two guns as evidence, officers have secured all of the stolen property.
Officers believe after the robbery, Rider found the suspects and had two separate confrontations with them. He had wounds which appear to be from gunshots in his hand and chest, Booth said.
“That’s what appears to us,” he said.
Officers believe Rider was shot with the stolen .357 handgun, first on top of the van, possibly while the van was in motion. Rider was probably shot a second time, beside the van, Booth said.
Currently the initial crime is believed to be a robbery, however after a confrontation with Rider, the suspects are believed to have shot him, Booth said.
“It took a little bit to piece it together,” Booth said. “It was a real puzzler in the beginning.”
But with the collaboration of Cleveland County officers, the District Attorney’s Task Force, and Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s officers, all of the stolen property was found and three suspects are in custody, Booth said.
“I’m very proud of the sheriff’s office and the District Attorney’s Task Force on an outstanding job on this case,” Booth said.
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Court appearances for the suspects are scheduled for Oct. 23.
Watch for updates.
News-Star reporter Kim Morava contributed to this report.