Nichols Hills fire chief dies after shooting

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Modified: September 21, 2011 at 11:24 am •  Published: September 21, 2011

Bryant, who is at a conference in Washington, D.C., said he has discussed the situation with Oklahoma City and Mustang police officials but there has been no threat against his life. He said there's no need for extra security now at his home because he's out of town, but that he discussed the issue with Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty.

Bryant said his primary concern is for the Bryan family.

“Keith was a good friend of mine. We worked together for many years,” Bryant said. “That's where my thoughts have been, really.”

Bryant said Oklahoma City is always in the process of evaluating and hiring fire job candidates, but that there haven't been any notable instances of people being upset about not being hired.

Officials are looking at records of recent applicants for local fire department jobs as part of the investigation, Foley said.

Nichols Hills Assistant Fire Chief Terry Hamilton said the Nichols Hills Fire Department hasn't interviewed or hired any personnel since 2007. Hamilton has been named acting fire chief.

Bryan well liked, well known in two communities

The city of Nichols Hills issued a statement expressing condolences to Keith Bryan's family, saying it's “a difficult time” for the city and its employees. Fire departments from around the metro offered assistance responding to calls today, but the city said its firefighters remain on duty.

Keith Bryan worked for the city's fire department for 31 years.

He previously served as a Mustang city councilman.

Mustang Fire Chief Carl Hickman said he had known Bryan more than 15 years.

“We're just in disbelief,” Hickman said. “A lot of the chiefs are pretty close. Keith was highly respected throughout the metro area, both professionally and personally.”

Mustang City Manager Mike Rutledge said he was good friends with Bryan during his time as Ward 5 councilman from 2004-09.

“He was a smart, strong, knowledgeable leader who was very personable,” Rutledge said. “He would help anyone with anything they needed.”

Bryan was instrumental in developing a comprehensive city plan that addressed growth of the city and guidance for city employee performance, Rutledge said.

Bryan was able to assess difficult items that came before the city council.

“He took his job seriously,” Rutledge said

Rhonda Miller, 55, said she used to live next door to Keith Bryan and his wife for more than five years.

“He was just a great person,” Miller said. “I used to take my little daughter up to the fire station and he would make his fire buddies buy candy bars from her for school.”

She said Keith Bryan was a kind, Christian man who attended The Bridge Assembly of God in Mustang.

“I'm really going to miss him,” Miller said. “My stomach has a knot in it because I'm so sad that this happened to him.”

Contributing: Staff Writers Robert Medley, Bryan Dean, Tiffany Gibson and Andrew Knittle

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