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Man sentenced in shooting of Oklahoma City police officer

Hector Escalante gets life sentence in shooting of Oklahoma City police officer Katie Lawson and his brother received three years for his role in the ambush.
BY TIM WILLERT twillert@opubco.com Published: November 9, 2011
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/articleid/3621384/1/pictures/1556750">Photo - Oklahoma County Sheriff's Deputy Leon Davis brings Alex Mercado into the courtroom for sentencing. Brothers Alex Mercado and Hector Escalante were given separate sentences by District Judge Donald Deason in an Oklahoma County courtroom Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2011 for  their involvement in shooting Oklahoma City police officer Katie Lawson during an ambush in south Oklahoma City in Aug, 2010.   Chief Bill Citty and his four assistant chiefs were seated among  nearly 40 uniformed police officers in the courtroom as the sentences were imposed. Several said they came to support Officer Lawson.  Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman  ORG XMIT: KOD
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Deputy Leon Davis brings Alex Mercado into the courtroom for sentencing. Brothers Alex Mercado and Hector Escalante were given separate sentences by District Judge Donald Deason in an Oklahoma County courtroom Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2011 for their involvement in shooting Oklahoma City police officer Katie Lawson during an ambush in south Oklahoma City in Aug, 2010. Chief Bill Citty and his four assistant chiefs were seated among nearly 40 uniformed police officers in the courtroom as the sentences were imposed. Several said they came to support Officer Lawson. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

“I shot a cop with an AR-15,” Escalante told Deason in September.

Prosecutors accused the three family members of plotting to kill Lawson on Aug. 29, 2010, in an attempt to free the boys' father, Hector Mercado, who was arrested by an Oklahoma County sheriff's deputy in front of the family's house.

Lawson had just finished assisting the deputy when she was ambushed near NW 38 and Miller by Hector Escalante, who fired 20 rounds into Lawson's patrol car. She was shot in the face, legs and body, but pulled her own weapon and returned fire, scaring him away.

“When you took fire from Officer Lawson, you turned tail and ran like the coward you are,” Deason told Hector Escalante.

Lawson, who was shot six times, returned to work in March. She called Hector Escalante's actions “unnecessary and senseless.”

“I thank God every day that (Escalante's) evil act did not take me from this world or my family,” Lawson told the court. “The Lord says to forgive, and one day I will find it in my heart to forgive.”

Afterward, Lawson exchanged smiles and hugs with family and co-workers. Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty and the department's four assistant chiefs were among those who attended the sentencing.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Hector Escalante's punishment fit the crime.

“He's a danger to society, and this is exactly where he needs to be,” he said.

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