TALIHINA, Okla. — Four Oklahoma troopers were struck by gunfire or shrapnel while serving a warrant early Friday at a man’s home that may have been booby-trapped to spark a large fire, authorities said.
The blaze consumed several buildings in downtown Talihina, a town of about 1,100 people that’s about 150 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.
The suspect was shot and has been pronounced dead, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons said. He was not immediately identified, and a body had not been recovered.
Timmons said the four injured troopers were treated and released from a local hospital and are expected to recover.
Local authorities had requested help from state troopers to execute a drug-related warrant because the man had a “violent criminal history,” Timmons said.
“As soon as they made entry, they were met by gunfire,” Timmons said.
He said authorities are “fairly certain” the man had surveillance cameras set up.
A fifth trooper who was wearing a protective vest was also struck in the chest area by gunfire, but escaped any injury because of the vest, Timmons said.
Authorities don’t yet know what caused the fire, but Timmons said the blaze broke out instantly after the law enforcement officers tried to execute the warrant.
“Right now we suspect that the building may have been booby-trapped with some type of explosive device that maybe started the fire,” Timmons said.
Firefighters appeared to have the blaze contained Friday afternoon.
It destroyed two historic buildings that were about 100 years old, Talihina Police Chief Rodney Faulkenberry said.
Talihina is stopping point for visitors to the Ouachita Mountains and is on the eastern end of the scenic Talimena Drive connecting with Mena, Arkansas.