Man charged in connection with Crosslin Park shooting

Zachary Ryan Wheeler

ENID, Okla. — A 38-year-old Enid man is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond after being charged in connection with the shooting of a man at Crosslin Park.

Zachary Ryan Wheeler appeared Thursday for arraignment on charges of shooting with intent to kill and assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Special District Judge Brian Lovell set bond at $250,000 and ordered Wheeler to return to court Sept. 16 for a bond appearance.

Wheeler also was arraigned on drug charges from another case, including felony counts of possession with intent to distribute and maintaining a place for keeping/selling controlled substances and a misdemeanor count of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond in that case was set at $10,000.

Wheeler faces up to life in prison on each charge of shooting with intent to kill and assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, at 12:04 a.m. Aug. 5 Enid Police Department received a call from the 3600 block of North Lincoln in reference to a suspicious man. The caller said the man tried to open his back door by turning the knob and was walking around in the backyard, according to the affidavit. Officer Ryan Peavy arrived in the area and found a man in the backyard of a neighboring home. The man said he'd been shot while at Crosslin Park, and officers saw the man had a small caliber gunshot wound to his chest.

Life EMS was called, and while personnel were checking the man he became uncooperative and left the back of the ambulance and refused treatment, according to the affidavit. The man would not cooperate with officers and refused to give any further information about what happened. The man walked away from the park.

At 1:58 a.m., a 911 call was received from 1606 W. Willow from the man who was shot earlier, according to the affidavit. He said he had been shot earlier, the wound was now bleeding and he needed to go to a hospital.

The man was transported by Life EMS to St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, according to the affidavit. At 5:03 a.m., the man was transported to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City for treatment.

Detective Robin Bench was told by hospital staff the man suffered a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the affidavit. The bullet entered the chest, traveled at a downward angle hitting part of the lung and liver and was lodged between the 10th and 11th ribs.

Bench reviewed reports where the victim's father called and spoke with Sgt. Aaron Barber, according to the affidavit. The man told Barber he learned from other family members his son was shot at High Point trailer park by a man named Zach Wheeler.

On Aug. 6, Bench and Detective James Buck went to OU Medical Center's ICU unit to speak with the victim, according to the affidavit. Bench noted he was "very uncooperative" about giving information. The victim told detectives to look at his phone and the last message would show who the shooter was and why he was shot.

When detectives told him they could not find his phone, the man said Wheeler shot him and it was over a girl, according to the affidavit. He told detectives they had their information and told them to go do their job.

On Aug. 7, the victim's father again contacted police saying he found his son's cellphone, according to the affidavit. He said the girl mentioned by his son was Wheeler's ex-girlfriend and his son's current girlfriend.

Bench reviewed some of the messages on the victim's phone. One from the girl said, "No Stay away from --- or flat out man I'ma blast on u I ain't playin," according to the affidavit. A message at 11:08 p.m. Aug. 4 is the victim asking the woman to "meet him in the park." Other messages are sent from the woman to the victim, asking if he is OK. In the message was a picture of a tattooed arm holding a silver semi automatic pistol.

Buck drove to High Point Mobile Home Park and found two vehicles parked at a residence. The vehicles were registered to Wheeler and the woman the victim had been text messaging, according to the affidavit. Bench applied for and received a search warrant for the residence. Officers stopped Wheeler after he left the residence and arrested him. In a search of the trailer home, officers found several live rounds of .22 caliber ammunition.

Bench interviewed Wheeler, telling him he was under arrest on a complaint of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, according to the affidavit. Wheeler said he had been dating the woman text messaging the victim for about four years. He said she began seeing the victim, and he told her to choose between the two.

Wheeler said the woman said she wanted to be with him, and Wheeler said he told her she had to show him and for her to break up with the victim, according to the affidavit. Wheeler said he told her to text the victim and have him meet her at Crosslin Park so he could watch her tell him she did not want to be with him.

Wheeler said he and the woman drove to the park and waited for the victim to arrive, according to the affidavit. Wheeler said he was sitting in the car when the victim arrived and began punching him in the face. Wheeler said he was trying to get out of the car while he was still being punched.

Wheeler said the victim had a gun in his waistband and was pulling it, according to the affidavit. Wheeler said he was able to pull his gun first and shot. Wheeler said he did not think he hit the victim, but the man began running away toward the west of the park. Wheeler said the victim dropped his gun as he climbed over a fence.

Bench asked Wheeler what he did with the gun, and Wheeler said a woman hid it for him, according to the affidavit. Wheeler said he shot the victim with a Jennings .22 caliber semi auto pistol.

Bench asked Wheeler if he sent the victim a picture of an arm holding a gun. Wheeler said he did but he was holding a different gun in the picture than the one he used in the shooting, according to the affidavit. Wheeler was taken to several locations by police but was not able to locate his gun.

On Aug. 8, Bench and Detective Nicole Binckley spoke with the woman dating Wheeler and the victim.

She said she was Wheeler's girlfriend of four years, but said she also was seeing the victim for the last two months, according to the affidavit. She said Wheeler is "very jealous" of the victim.

She said on Aug. 4 the two were at the trailer and while there, Wheeler had pointed a rifle at the victim and attempted to shoot him, according to the affidavit. She said the gun misfired and no bullet came out. She said Wheeler attempted to shoot the victim a second time and fired but the bullet did not hit the victim.

The woman said Wheeler had a toilet paper holder he was using as a silencer on the end of the gun and the device deflected the bullet, according to the affidavit. She said Wheeler also fired a round into one of the bedroom doors, leaving a hole. She said Wheeler told her he was going to kill the victim.

The woman said Wheeler used her cellphone to send messages to the victim claiming to be her, according to the affidavit. She said Wheeler told the victim to meet them at Crosslin Park and Wheeler drove her car there to wait for the victim to arrive.

She said when they saw the victim walking up, Wheeler produced a handgun and fired it at the victim but it did not go off, according to the affidavit. She said the gun misfired a second time. She said Wheeler got out of the car and fired a third shot, hitting the victim and knocking him to the ground.

During the service of the search warrant at the trailer, Bench had the woman point out the door Wheeler shot, according to the affidavit. Bench found a small hole in a bedroom door and also found another small hole in the fabric of the love seat and in the wall behind it where the victim was sitting when Wheeler first shot at him.

When police searched the trailer, they also found a total of 25.8 grams of a substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine, according to an affidavit filed in that case.

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Rains is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @cassrains.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Cass? Send an email to crains@enidnews.com.

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