The man gunned down by law officers Tuesday night was a member of a group linked to crimes across multiple counties, the Pottawatomie County sheriff said.
In law enforcement circles in Payne and Pottawatomie counties, Christopher Lee Stout, 23, was known to target guns and jewelry in burglaries, authorities there said. Some of his family members and associates frequently rise to the top of the list as suspects in crimes such as burglary and theft.
Stout and his girlfriend Stacie Stout, 20, were shot to death after fleeing in a pickup as members of the U.S. Marshals Metro Fugitive Task Force attempted to serve Christopher Stout with two felony burglary warrants out of Payne County, Oklahoma City police Capt. Dexter Nelson said. The confrontation occurred about 7:40 p.m. as the pair fled a southeast Oklahoma City motel, Nelson said.
Payne County authorities say break-ins believed to be tied to Stout followed a pattern.
“We'd had multiple break-ins with the same MO (modus operandi),” Payne County sheriff's Capt. Kevin Woodward said.
Guns and jewelry were taken, but other, oftentimes more valuable items, were left untouched, Woodward said.
“TVs, stereos, everything,” Woodward said. They walked past everything there for jewelry and guns.”
Guns are popular for criminals to resell at pawnshops, Woodward said. Criminals will melt jewelry and sell the nondescript nuggets at cash-for-gold businesses, he said.
At least seven lawmen opened fire on the pair after authorities attempted to stop the vehicle by crashing into it, according to police.
Christopher and Stacie Stout are not related but share the same last name, Nelson said.
Stacie Stout did not have a criminal record, Nelson said. A family member contacted by The Oklahoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There are three open investigations into Christopher Lee Stout in Pottawatomie County, Sheriff Mike Booth said.
In that county, investigators have identified about 16 close family members and associates, including Christopher Lee Stout, believed to be involved in the same criminal enterprise, Booth said. Members of the group tend to use aliases and move frequently, he said.
Court records show that Christopher Lee Stout had been out on bail pending the disposition of multiple charges in several counties.
In Oklahoma County, he had been charged with grand larceny and concealing stolen property. Christopher Lee Stout had also been charged in Cleveland County with grand larceny and making false declaration of ownership to pawnshops. In Grady County, he had also been charged with grand larceny and assault and battery, court records show.
In 2011, Christopher Lee Stout pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in Oklahoma County and received a deferred sentence of five years, according to court records.
Christopher Lee Stout was also wanted in Payne County on warrants of first-degree and second-degree burglary at the time of his death.
Officers involved in the shooting were from the U.S. Marshals Service, Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, Canadian County Sheriff's office and Pottawatomie County Sheriff's office.
It wasn't clear Thursday why authorities opened fire on the couple.
The Oklahoma City police homicide detectives have begun an investigation into the incident.