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Nichols Hills fire chief dies after shooting

Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan died after a shooting late Tuesday at his home in Mustang, officials said. The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation is helping with the investigation.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL and BRYAN DEAN Modified: September 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm •  Published: September 21, 2011

A longtime fire chief was shot in the head late Tuesday at his home, and his wife told police the gunman was an intruder who apologized afterward and said her husband should have hired him.

Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan was rushed to OU Medical Center, where he died Wednesday morning.

Becky Bryan, the chief's wife, called 911 on a cellphone from their home in the 1300 block of W Rose Hill Drive in Mustang at 10:07 p.m. and said someone was trying to break in, Mustang Police Chief Chuck Foley said. The call went dead, but she called back from a landline shortly thereafter.

She said on the call that a white man in his 20s or 30s in a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt shot her husband and sped away in a medium-size or smaller pickup, Foley said.

“The garage was wide open,” Foley said. “Apparently there was an unlocked door that leads to the interior of the house.”

The wife's description of the intruder's comments led to a lockdown at the headquarters of the Oklahoma City Fire Department, a large department that frequently hires personnel and is headed by Keith Bryant, whose name is similar to that of the victim, Keith Bryan. The two men were friends. Their homes are several miles apart.

The Nichols Hills Fire Department is a small department that has not hired anybody in four years.

“The spelling is very similar,” Foley said. “They are both fire chiefs. They are in the metro. There are too many correlations. It is definitely part of our investigation.”

Foley said Bryan's wife is the sole witness to the incident.

“People that have gone through a traumatic experience, it's hard to say what they will recollect,” Foley said. “The information we got from her is very sketchy and doesn't really give us a direction to go with regard to a suspect.”

Nothing appears to have been stolen or damaged in the home, and there are no signs of a break-in, Foley said.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents are helping in the investigation.

OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said investigators have interviewed Becky Bryan, but she hasn't been able to provide a more detailed description of the shooter than what was initially released. Brown said there are no suspects, and nothing has been ruled out.

Becky Bryan filed for divorce from Keith Bryan in January 2010 in Canadian County District Court. The case is still pending. Becky Bryan's attorney, Elaine Arnold, did not immediately return a message seeking comment, and no attorney is listed for Keith Bryan.

She cited “complete and irreconcilable incompatibility” in seeking the divorce.

Foley said police had never been called to the Bryans' home before Tuesday night.

OKC fire chief says he's

not afraid for his life

Bryant, the Oklahoma City fire chief, was at a conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. He 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.

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