Community furious after Oklahoma officers shot three children in their head and face while firing at suspect in pizza shop robbery
The names of two police officers who had been involved in the shooting of three children in Hugo, Oklahoma, have now been released more than a week after the tragedy occurred. Hugo Police Department detectives Billy Jenkins and Chad Allen were identified as the officers who opened fire on a vehicle that was being driven by 21-year-old William Devaughn Smith, who was under suspicion of robbing a pizza shop. Choctaw County Jail records indicate that Smith was being held on an aggravated robbery complaint. He had been in custody in Lamar County, Texas, after being released from a hospital there.
The officers' bullets ended up hitting three of the four children who were sitting in the back seat. Olivia Hill, the mother of the four children, told KFOR: "My 4-year-old daughter was shot in the head, and she has a bullet in her brain, and my 5-year-old has a skull fracture. My 1-year-old baby has gunshot wounds on her face. My 2-year-old wasn’t touched with any bullets."
A post on the Hugo, Oklahoma, police Facebook page said a man entered the back entrance of the restaurant, pressed an object to an employee's back and demanded money. Police said the worker handed over money and the robber left.
The police officers later intercepted the suspect and claim that they started shooting because Smith had been trying to run them over with his truck, but many are claiming that this is false. Witnesses say that the officers could have just moved out of the way instead of opening fire, especially considering there were children inside the vehicle.
It is also worth noting that the officers were in plain clothes on that day meaning Smith may not have known the two men approaching his vehicle with guns were police officers. According to TFTP, family attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons said: "If you don’t know if someone is law enforcement or not, it changes things. I don’t know what happened, but that’s concerning to me."
The three children who were shot in the incident have all reportedly been released from the hospital but will continue to deal with "a lot of physical and emotional pain," according to Simmons.
He said: "They are terrified to go anywhere or hear anything. The two-year-old keeps asking about 'Am I going to get shot again'. It’s a bad deal. The child who had a bullet in the brain, there’s some question now that she may have a permanent injury. She might be looking at a lifetime injury."