Two men were arrested Sunday in connection with the ambush and shooting of an Oklahoma County sheriff's major who remains hospitalized in critical condition.
Keonta Stephan Terrell Prince, 18, and Christopher Travis Baker, 29, were arrested on complaints of shooting with intent to kill and robbery with a firearm, officials said.
The two are accused of shooting Maj. John Waldenville, 60, an off-duty Oklahoma County sheriff's deputy who was taking a night deposit from a restaurant to a bank, Oklahoma City police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said Sunday.
Prince and Baker, who have not been charged, are the two men police think were behind the attack on Waldenville.
Police and deputies canvassed many areas throughout the city Saturday and Sunday looking for leads and asking people to call 911 if they had information, Knight said.
A 911 caller told police about 12:55 p.m. Sunday that he thought he saw Prince near SW 3 and Meridian, Knight said. Police found him about 1:45 p.m. in a breezeway at the Super 8 motel.
Prince was not armed when he was arrested and did not resist, Knight said. He had paid for a room for Friday and Saturday nights and had just paid for a third night when he was arrested. Knight said he did not know Prince's permanent address.
Christopher Travis Baker, 29, was arrested at an apartment near NW 10 and Greenvale Road, Knight said. Baker, who had just been released from prison last year, was taken into custody without incident about 6 p.m., Sheriff John Whetsel said.
Baker was convicted of first-degree burglary and robbery with a firearm in 2001, according to corrections department records. He was released after serving a 10-year sentence in February 2010, records show. He was a minor at the time the crimes were committed, according to court records.
The bank deposit bag Waldenville had with him has not yet been recovered, Knight said.
Attacked from behind
Waldenville — who was in uniform and armed — was shot once over his right eye just after midnight Saturday as he took the deposit from Cattlemen's Steakhouse, 1309 S Agnew Ave., to a nearby bank, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said. The robbers came from around a pharmacy and shot him on the sidewalk in front of the building, he said.
Waldenville remained in critical condition Sunday at OU Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The bullet destroyed his eye and caused multiple facial fractures, but ricocheted downward inside his skull, causing no brain damage. He is expected to survive.
Waldenville, a 25-year veteran of the sheriff's office, has a master's degree in business administration and is the supervisor of the sheriff's administrative services bureau, Whetsel said. He also worked off-duty at the restaurant on a regular basis.
‘Angel on earth'
Whetsel said he first visited Waldenville at the hospital and went to the scene of the shooting to see it for himself, and met with Oklahoma City police officer Katie Lawson there.
“She was one of the first officers on the scene, holding his hand and talking to him,” Whetsel said, and waited with him until paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital.
“She was with John last night. When I heard that, I can't explain the feeling that came over me. It was a sign to me that he was going to live,” Whetsel said.
“She truly is an angel on earth,” he said.
Lawson, 28, was ambushed in August while assisting an Oklahoma County sheriff's deputy on a traffic stop outside a man's home. She was shot multiple times with an AR-15 assault rifle. The suspected shooter — the 18-year-old son of the man arrested on a drunken driving complaint that night — fired 26 rounds from the rifle before Lawson was able to return fire and radio for help. She returned to duty earlier this year, according to The Oklahoman archives.
Family by his side
Waldenville's wife and one of his sons, as well as numerous deputies and their families, have been with Waldenville at OU Medical Center since he was shot.
“He meets a lot of people and the outpouring and the support has been phenomenal,” wife Marjorie Waldenville said Saturday.
“ ... I really believe with all my heart, I know he'll pull through and do well. It will be a long road to recovery,” she said.
“He'll be back as soon as he possibly can. I think that's been kind of a little joke around here is that if he could, he'd be back to work in a week,” son Jason Waldenville said.
Waldenville and Whetsel's relationship spans decades. Waldenville once owned a restaurant in Choctaw when Whetsel was the city's police chief.
“He's there day and night,” Whetsel said, mentioning that Waldenville often comes into the office at night and on weekends to work when it's quiet.
“Just as soon as that good eye opens up, we'll have a laptop up here for him,” Whetsel joked.