A suspect is in custody after a 15-month investigation into a shooting death outside a Spencer nightclub, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel announced Wednesday.
Deontae Thomas, 21, of Spencer, was arrested Tuesday on a murder complaint and is being held at the Oklahoma County jail in the death of an Oklahoma City man, Whetsel said.
Jean-Ciar Pierce, 23, died from gunshot wounds as he was trying to drive away from a gunbattle Aug. 25, 2012, outside of Shaker's Sports Bar, 8427 NE 23.
Whetsel said nearly 200 people were present during the fight and more than 50 shots were fired by multiple shooters, but investigators have had trouble getting witnesses to come forward.
“They have left no stone unturned. They have followed every bit of information, no matter how small or insignificant it seemed,” he said.
Thomas, who served time on burglary and weapons convictions, began the night in question at a party celebrating his release from prison, Whetsel said. The party moved to Shakers, and a witness placed Thomas at the scene and detailed how he exchanged gunfire in the parking lot.
Whetsel said the investigation is ongoing and encouraged anyone with information to call his office at 713-1017.
Sarah Burdine, Pierce's mother, has been active in the investigation, taking to social media to ask witnesses and others with information to share what they know. Burdine said one investigator told her the longer the investigation continues, the less likely people will talk to police.
“I do remember investigator (Sgt. Mike) Cunningham saying after a certain amount of time people forget about it, and when the story, when people quit talking about it, it's going to go cold,” Burdine said. “And I did not want that to happen. This is my son's life.”
Pierce worked for two years as a circulation clerk for Michael Owens, manager of library operations at Ralph Ellison Library in Oklahoma City. Owens said Pierce was like a son to him.
“We were very close. He was a wonderful young man, very talented, soft-spoken, gentle, and everybody loved him,” Owens said.
“He had hopes and dreams and it's a shame that he was in the wrong place in the wrong time.”