The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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April 29, 2013

UPDATE: Officers call off manhunt for suspect

ENID — Local and state police searched an area east of Enid Monday for a man who may have pointed a gun at employees of a powerline services company, but officers gave up the search after an "intensive" walkthrough of the area that lasted several hours.

Police spent the morning and afternoon methodically searching wooded areas and wheat fields south of Garriott Road and west of South 54th Street — both on foot and in off-road vehicles — but there was still no sign of the suspect.

At around 2 p.m., police tightened the perimeter north of Market Street. Just after 3 p.m., officers shut down their command post and called off the manhunt.

Capt. Jack Morris with the Enid Police Department said that about 7:30 a.m. Monday, employees of Patriot Solution discovered a man on their lot. The suspect reportedly brandished a gun and ran away, the officer said. The employees may have interrupted the man during a burglary, Morris said.

Patriot Solution is an electric powerline services company located at 5621 Sooner Trend, northeast of Garriott Road and 54th Street. A manager who answered the phone at the business declined to comment about the incident.

Police directed units to search near the 5000 block of Market Street because that is where police believe they last spotted him. Morris said an Enid police officer on a traffic stop saw the suspect running through a field shortly after the 911 call came in.

Enid police requested help from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's tactical team and Enid officers deployed K-9 units to assist with the search. The city's SWAT team was mobilized at 8 a.m.

OHP also sent a helicopter and an airplane, and both were seen making low passes over the fields south of Garriott. Several streets along the highway were blocked off by Enid patrol units to preserve the perimeter, which initially stretched for a mile along Garriott from 42nd Street and 54th Street, then south to Market Street.

Authorities let trains through the perimeter while the OHP aircraft kept an eye on the cars to make sure the suspect didn't jump on board.

Police believe the suspect is a white male, and was wearing dark clothing and a mask. They had no further information to report about his description and surveillance video from the scene appeared to have little use in identifying the man.

"We really don't have an ID on who he is," Morris said. "We're stuck at this point until something can come up or until a tip comes in."

Several schools on the east side of Enid were locked down as a safety precaution, said Amber Fitzgerald, human resources and communications director for Enid Public Schools. Those included Adams, Coolidge, Garfield, Longfellow, Monroe, Carver Educational Center and the Greenbrier 4-year-old program.

A spokeswoman at Pleasant Vale Elementary, 6020 E. Willow Road, said the school was placed in secure, or lockdown, mode Monday morning with a police officer sitting at the front door. Extra school staff were tasked outside the building as school let out.

The American Red Cross arrived on scene and provided water, snacks and lunch to the officers. Enid's SWAT team took a break late in the morning to regroup and eat before heading back out. Jay Sharp, a spokesman for the Red Cross in Enid, said the Enid Police Department called and asked for help early in the hours-long search.

"That is a Red Cross service. We're more than happy to assist," Sharp said.

Highway 412 remained open throughout the manhunt.

Phyllis Zorn contributed to this report.

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