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Police: Suspect in Okla. deputy shooting planned to kill

“I can tell you with 100% confidence he was planning on killing any law enforcement that came to his house,” Chief Wade Gourley said


Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Bobby Swartz.

Photo/Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office via AP

By Ken MIller
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The man suspected of fatally shooting an Oklahoma deputy sheriff and wounding another planned to kill law any enforcement officer who arrived at the home where he lived, police said Tuesday.

“There was plenty of information (Monday) inside that home, and I won’t go into a lot of detail of it, but I can tell you with 100% confidence he was planning on killing any law enforcement that came to his house,” Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley said during a Tuesday news conference.

“I would ... say he planned it because of the way it went down,” Gourley said, declining to elaborate because of the active investigation into the shooting.

Benjamin Plank, 35, was arrested on first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill warrants in the fatal shooting of Deputy Bobby Swartz and wounding of Deputy Mark Johns as they attempted to serve eviction papers at the southwest Oklahoma City home.

Swartz had been a deputy since 1997, Sheriff Tommie Johnson III said. Johns first became a deputy in 1991, retired in 2016, then was rehired in January, according to Johnson.

Jail records do not list an attorney who could speak on Plank’s behalf.

Gourley said numerous weapons including a rifle, handguns and ammunition were found in the pickup truck Plank was driving and in a boat he was towing.

The weapons were found after a vehicle pursuit that included Plank shooting at police and officers returning fire, ending with Plank’s arrest at a Tinker Air Force Base entrance.

Plank surrendered but was not cooperative with officers who then tackled him and shot him with a stun gun, Gourley said.

The Monday afternoon shooting occurred nearly three-and-a-half hours after city police received a call from a woman at the same address asking officers to evict her son because he was “acting up” and throwing items into the yard, Gourley said.

Gourley said the woman reported that she seeking a protective order against Plank, but that court records did not indicate an order was active and that police do not serve eviction notices, referring her to the sheriff’s office.

Gourley said the woman’s relationship with Plank is part of the ongoing investigation.

Johnson said the two deputies went to the front door of the home, where Plank was “uncooperative,” then went to the back door where both Swartz and Johns were shot multiple times.

Swartz was struck multiple times and Johns was struck by gunfire while trying to remove Swartz from the line of fire and remained hospitalized in stable condition, Johnson said.

“He is peppy and he’s in good spirits,” Johnson said.

Johnson read a letter from Swartz’s family that called him “a good man, an even better dad and the world’s greatest grandad (who) never missed a soccer game.”

Funeral services will be Friday, Johnson said.

Gourley said police had responded to five disturbance calls in the past year to the home where the deputies were shot and each was sent to civil court. Gourley said the only previous contact with Plank was for illegal dumping of trash.