Hunt for Oklahoma fugitive ends in deadly shootout with police
OKLAHOMA — Five people shot, including two police officers. Two people stabbed and killed. Three vehicles stolen, including one police vehicle and another taken in a carjacking.
And those are just the crimes police know about, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said Monday.
Michael Vance’s savage week of killings, police shootings and Facebook boasts ended Sunday when the fugitive was killed in a shootout. On Monday, Whetsel announced the arrest of a man in Oklahoma City who allegedly admitted to providing Vance with guns and bandages after his rampage began.
Vance, 38, had been on the run since October 23 — the day he shot two Oklahoma officers and killed two relatives. After wounding the officers, Vance appeared on Facebook Live, bragging about his exploits and portending more violence to come.
His demise came Sunday, after Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander pulled him over. That’s when gunfire erupted.
A chaotic final day
Vance had been camping out in Hammon, Oklahoma, about 150 miles west of where his rampage began in Wellston. On Sunday, he managed to evade authorities hot on his trail by fleeing in a car.
Around 9:30 p.m., Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander caught up with Vance and pulled him over. Vance shot the sheriff in the left forearm and shoulder before escaping once again, U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Dave Turk said.
About 45 minutes later, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper found Vance, and a second shoot-out ensued, Turk said. Vance was killed, ending an intense, week-long manhunt for the suspected killer and child abuser.
How the rampage unfolded
Sunday, October 23
Vance shot and wounded two Wellston police officers who were responding to a disturbance call, authorities said.
The wounded officers returned fire, striking Vance at least twice, the Lincoln County sheriff said. Vance managed to flee in a stolen patrol car.
While still in the stolen police car, Vance posted a video on Facebook.
“This is more intense than I thought it would be, to say the least,” he said. “This truck is about dead … I’m about to steal another car. Like right now.”
Investigators believe Vance then shot a woman while trying to steal a Lincoln Town Car.
Authorities spotted a Lincoln Town Car at a house in Luther, just northeast of Oklahoma City. There, police found the bodies of Robert and Valerie Kay Wilkson — later identified as Vance’s aunt and uncle.
Both were stabbed, and Robert Wilkson was also shot. Based on the stab wounds, the killer is believed to have apparently tried to behead Wilkson and dismember his wife.
Monday, October 24
Authorities searched the house and found a pink T-shirt believed to be the one Vance wore in his Facebook videos.
They also found two shell casings — a kind typically fired from an AK-47. Police believe a weapon shown in one of Vance’s Facebook videos was an AK-47.
Tuesday, October 25 through Sunday, October 30
Vance continued eluding authorities. While he was on the loose, Oklahoma Highway Patrol warned that he had a communicable disease that he may try to spread.
At some point, he stopped in Oklahoma City at the home of convicted felon Danny Roach, Whetsel said Monday. He declined to elaborate on how they knew each other.
Roach told police that Vance visited his home after the killings in Luther, Whetsel said. Vance directed Roach to his Facebook page and pointed out his broadcasts.
Vance described cutting the “wrong side” of the female victim’s neck, saying he had to cut the other side, Whetsel said. Vance also told Roach that he killed another woman because she lied to him, the sheriff said, without providing further detail.
Roach told police he gave Vance bandages to treat his wounds, Whetsel said. He gave Vance ammunition and traded guns with him, providing him with an AK-47 with a short barrel to give him a “better tactical advantage.”
At one point, a police car drove by Roach’s home and he served as lookout for Vance, Whetsel said.
Roach was arrested Saturday and charged on Monday with two counts of accessory to felony murder after the fact, Whetsel said.
Sander, the Dewey County sheriff, pulled Vance over near Hammon, in the western part of the state. The sheriff was wounded in a shootout, and Vance escaped.
An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper later spotted Vance, who was killed in a second shootout.
Child sex abuse allegations
Vance was incensed after he was arrested in July on accusations of child sexual assault, his uncle told CNN affiliate KFOR. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said Vance had been recently released from jail.
In one of his Facebook Live posts, Vance thanked his sister for “believing in me.”
“Everything that was said, it was all a setup,” Vance said while on the run.
The uncle said he now thinks Vance may have begun planning his rampage weeks earlier since he asked relatives to help him get a gun. But the uncle said he couldn’t predict the violent events that followed. “This is a nightmare we can’t wake up from,” he said.
Whetsel said he had “no idea” whether his pending charges had anything to do with the rampage.
“There’s a lot of things we would like to ask him we can’t,” he said, “a lot of questions we’ll never get an answer to.”