Oklahoma man arrested, suspected of slaying teen girlfriend

A 24-year-old Oklahoma man has been arrested on a first-degree murder warrant in the suspected death of his 17-year-old girlfriend, authorities said Friday.

Tanner Washington of Stratford was arrested Thursday night in the suspected death of Faith Lindsey, who has not been seen since Oct. 29, said Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Brooke Arbeitman.

Washington is being held in the Oklahoma County jail on the murder warrant from Pontotoc County. Court records didn't list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Arbeitman said she could not comment on why the OSBI believes Lindsey is dead because the investigation is ongoing.

Arbeitman said Lindsey was reported missing by her sister to police in Paul's Valley, where Lindsey lived.

The OSBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Lindsey or her remains.


Suspect in custody after man shot at Oklahoma City mall

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man suspected of shooting another man during an argument inside an Oklahoma City mall, prompting frightened shoppers to hide, was jailed Friday on $500,000 bond after surrendering to police, authorities said.

Capt. Larry Withrow said Elizha Sanders, 24, was arrested the Thursday shooting that wounded Gerron Cobb, 22, inside Penn Square Mall.

After Sanders was identified as the suspect, officers with the Oklahoma City Police Gang Unit, Criminal Intelligence Unit and U.S. Marshals Service were able to contact his father, Withrow said. "His father convinced him to contact police and turn himself in" around 1:30 a.m. Friday in the nearby city of Moore, Withrow said.

Online jail records show Sanders was booked on a complaint of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, but do not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf. C ourt records show bond was set at $500,000 but don't indicate whether formal charges have been filed.

The shooting forced the mall to close as police spent hours searching stores and clearing out shoppers who had taken cover. Withrow said video footage from the mall shows the suspect leaving just after the fight.

Cobb was shot in the chest. Withrow said Cobb remained hospitalized Friday in stable condition.

Police said the suspect, wearing sweatpants but no shirt, was seen fleeing from the area near the Foot Locker shoe store. Withrow said the shooting happened in the Foot Locker following what witnesses described as an argument and physical altercation between the two men.

Withrow said investigators were still trying to determine whether the two men knew each other and a motive for the altercation that led to the shooting.

"When the shooting started, there were bunch of people hid in closets, hid in back rooms, locked the stores," Sgt. Kris Gellenbeck said earlier. "So they're having to go store to store to clear the civilians out and look for the suspect."

The shooting came amid the busy holiday shopping season. Those standing in the mall's parking lot after the shooting included a person dressed as Santa Claus.

Amari Lafevers, who works at J.C. Penney in the mall, told The Oklahoman that she was completing a sale at a cash register when people started running and saying, "Shots fired! Shots fired!"

"You know it's kind of surreal because you don't really know what to do in that moment," she said. "It's just you don't really think it will happen to us until it does."

Among those evacuated from the mall were members of the Oklahoma City Thunder who had been at a private movie screening. A team spokesman says the team was never in any danger.

Withrow said the shooting appears to have been an isolated incident involving only Sanders and Cobb.

"We don't have anything to indicate that this was an active shooter with multiple targets," Withrow said.


Oklahoma governor gives consent for refugee resettlement

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Refugees looking to resettle in Oklahoma will continue to be welcome here, Gov. Kevin Stitt told federal authorities this week.

In a letter Wednesday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Stitt gave his formal consent to allow refugees to resettle in Oklahoma.

"Faith leaders across the state reached out requesting the state continue its history of accepting refugees facing dire political or religious circumstances in their home countries," Stitt said in a statement. "As part of their relocation, these refugees undergo a thorough legal vetting process and often are reunited with family already living in the states."

Stitt's letter was in response to an executive order in September from President Donald Trump that directs states and local municipalities to consent in writing to the resettlement of refugees.

Oklahoma accepted 52 refugees last fiscal year, although that number fluctuates every year, said Jessi Pingel Riesenberg, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City.

In the last 10 years, nearly 3,200 refugees have resettled in Oklahoma, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of State.

While most refugees resettle in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas, there also are some large pockets of refugees from the Marshall Islands in Enid and from several African countries in Guymon, Riesenberg said.

Faith leaders from more than four dozen churches across Oklahoma wrote to Stitt this month urging him to continue Oklahoma's policy of accepting refugees.

"Refugees play an important role in Oklahoma's economy," the letter states. "Refugees are employment authorized from the day they arrive and are eager to embrace the dignity of work, a right that was generally denied them in the countries from which they came."