Moments after a shopkeeper opened fire on robbery suspects fleeing his store, Oklahoma City police gunned him down outside his shop.
That violence unfolded Monday night about two hours after an unrelated stabbing around the corner at the same shopping center complex.
A fight at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting led to the stabbing about 6:20 p.m., according to police and workers at the Mayridge Shopping Center at SW 44 and S May Avenue.
Police came to investigate the stabbing, and while there, heard shots ring out around the corner.
Store proprietor Brett “Lucky” Alan Cude, 50, had fired his weapon at two people trying to rob his store about 8:15 p.m. at Lucky's Liquor, 2908 SW 44, Oklahoma City police Capt. Dexter Nelson said.
Nelson described Cude as stable and able to talk the day after the shooting.
It's not clear where the store owner was taken for treatment; attempts were not successful on Tuesday to locate him at area hospitals.
Flanked by violence
Workers at Cricket Wireless said they heard the shots. Employee Clara Porras said she looked out the store's large windows and saw a police officer firing his gun.
“We had windows all over. I saw a cop pointing a gun at something and pretty much shooting back,” Porras said.
She didn't know how many shots she heard.
“There were plenty,” she said. “I can't say an exact number — it was back and forth, back and forth.”
The young women working in the cellphone store at a corner of the shopping center were flanked by violent crime Monday evening. It was a worker in the store who had called 911 after the stabbing at Alcoholics Anonymous.
Faced with a second emergency, the workers and a customer hid in the back of the business as police shot the shopkeeper.
Dalia Perez, one of the workers at the wireless store, looked outside and saw the store owner bloodied on the ground. A gun was on the ground next to him. Perez said she saw the business owner putting pressure on his bleeding body.
In the meantime, robbery suspect Tucson Delayne Redd Jr., 32, had been shot multiple times. He and Broderick Ransom, 17, fled in a car and crashed head-on into a pickup and trailer.
The teenage suspect was injured in the crash, but the pair ran southwest. Police arrested the suspects about two blocks from the liquor store, in the 4700 block of S Drexel Avenue, Nelson said.
Redd was in critical condition Tuesday while Ransom was treated and released into police custody. He was taken to the Oklahoma County jail. Both suspects face complaints of robbery.
Nelson said he did not know whether the suspects were armed.
Sgt. Cody Koelsch and officer Bradley May had heard gunshots, turned a corner and saw shopkeeper Cude shooting at a car.
Officers did not know Cude was the store owner, and they opened fire after he failed to do what they asked him to do, Nelson said. Koelsch is a seven-year veteran of the police department. May has seven months of service, Nelson said. Both are on administrative leave.
Crime is common
The acts shone a spotlight on a part of south Oklahoma City residents say is fraught with crime and overrun with gang activity.
Cude, the store owner, watched over the shopping complex, keeping his eye on goings-on at the busy commercial intersection, workers at the wireless store said.
Lucky's Liquor was closed and locked the day after the shooting, and the store owner's blood stained the pavement outside.
Amid the bustling commercial activity, residents say there is a seedy element in this part of the metro area.
“He would look after the store, after us,” Porras said. “Because we're surrounded by hobos, drug addicts and alcoholics. It's pretty dangerous to work here. He was always lookin' out.”
Gangbangers sit in the parking lot late into the night through the morning across the street at 7-Eleven, said Gary Warden, who lives nearby and commutes at 3 a.m. to the north side of the metro area to deliver doughnuts for Krispy Kreme. The youngsters regularly accost customers outside the store, said Warden, who carries a knife for protection.
He pulled that knife at the 7-Eleven last week on young men who approached him and demanded to know where he was going, scaring them off, he said.
“Midnight until daylight — they ram that place, and the law won't touch 'em.”
Warden felt police could be much more aggressive to stop loitering and prevent crime in the area, but workers at Cricket said they often see squad cars, which provides a sense of security.
Perez, the wireless store employee, said she's got to get to work either way. Less than 24 hours after the violence that went down outside her workplace windows, she helped a customer hash out a technical issue with a cellphone.
“I have to come in. Even though this happened, I gotta forget it and just do what I have to do here.”
Zachery Morton was looking forward to talking with his friend Lucky at Lucky's Liquor on Tuesday afternoon. He was surprised to find the door locked and shocked to hear what had happened.
“He's a good person,” Morton said of Cude, who he and others call ‘Lucky.' “And this is a tragedy. It's hard to believe.”
Cude is a husband and a father, and he cherishes his new granddaughter, Morton said. Morton likes to buy wine for his sisters, who live in the neighborhood. He and his wife were friendly with the Cudes, and often talked about restaurants, retirement and travel at the shop.
The robbery at his friend's store upset him.
“It's senseless. It is senseless, and it is getting out of hand over here,” Morton said.
He questioned if the police action was too rushed but said he didn't want to judge the officers' actions.
“I'm ex-military, and I don't want to say anything bad about anybody. It seems kind of a rush. The guy had a right to try and defend his store.”
Morton left the liquor store to try and find Cude at a hospital.
“I don't understand this stuff,” he said. “This is a crazy world.”