Unarmed and off duty, Choctaw police officer George McKinnis found himself in the middle of a stabbing Sunday evening in northwest Oklahoma City.
McKinnis, a 15-year police veteran, was visiting his parents about 7 p.m. in the 100 block of NW 27.
“I was on the front porch with my mom giving her hugs and kisses when I heard the scream for help,” McKinnis said.
He saw a vehicle, driven by Elizabeth Nelson, 34, speed away from the scene.
That’s when McKinnis saw the attack.
“I was actually watching the suspect stabbing that person. The victim was on his back, kicking and punching and trying to defend himself as he was actively stabbing him,” McKinnis said.
“I started across the street, yelling and screaming at him to stop and drop the weapon,” he said.
McKinnis said he identified himself as a police officer and was pointing with his left hand while giving orders.
At the same time, he was reaching underneath his shirt with his right hand as if he were unholstering his weapon.
But McKinnis had left his gun and handcuffs behind that night.
“He finally stopped and started to walk towards me. He got to the curb and he was still holding the knife at his side,” McKinnis said. “When he got within about 10 feet of me, he was saying stuff to me, but I was telling him to drop the weapon or I was going to shoot him in the face.
“He believed me, and he dropped the knife.”
McKinnis said he grabbed the man, identified as Steven Rivera, 28, and detained him until Oklahoma City police arrived.
I was thinking that I was going to have to go hand-to-hand with this guy. Law enforcement training and experience paid off, and the bluff worked,” McKinnis said.
The woman who fled the scene, identified as Nelson, drove to a nearby convenience store, police said. She died at a hospital.
Allen Galbreath, 47, the man McKinnis witnessed being stabbed, also was taken to a hospital. He is expected to survive, police report.
Rivera was booked into Oklahoma County jail on complaints of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, police said.
“I should have had my weapon. I normally do. We’re told to always have your weapon with you whether you’re on duty or off duty because you never know what’s going to happen,” McKinnis said. “I was just fortunate enough to be there and be able to act and take the bad guy into custody.
“Ironically, I was able to do it without handcuffs or a gun or anything else.”