By Skyler Hammons
Tahlequah Day by day Press, Okla.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — A Tahlequah Police Division patrolman was awarded the Medal of Valor through the Nov. 6 Tahlequah Metropolis Council assembly for pursuing a murder suspect whereas off obligation.
On Oct. 18, Ohavyah Soto and some of her associates have been ending their evening with a dinner at Braum’s. Their meal resulted in a foot chase for a person suspected of killing two folks in a capturing earlier that night.
Soto, who was off obligation on the time, mentioned she and some associates had simply completed a jiu-jitsu class once they made their strategy to Braum’s. In the meantime, throughout city at a West Choctaw Road residence, three folks have been shot, two of them killed and one injured. Jordan Hensley, the alleged shooter, fled on foot, prompting Tahlequah Police Division officers to launch a search.
Whereas Soto was at Braum’s, she observed a few patrol automobiles driving previous, so she pulled up her computer-aided design system on her telephone to see what was taking place. Because the evening went on, Soto mentioned she monitored the CAD system to see what was growing. Within the notes part of the app, Soto observed the title “Jordan Hensley” listed as a attainable suspect.
“I used to be like, ‘Oh, man. I do know this child. I simply handled him final month!’ The individuals who have been with me have been like, ‘That is loopy,'” Soto mentioned.
After the buddies completed their meal, Soto trailed behind the group and was the final one to depart Braum’s.
“I glanced over and noticed a man standing there, after which after we locked eyes, I instantly acknowledged who it was. I knew that it was Jordan Hensley,” Soto mentioned.
Soto mentioned she tried to take the suspect into custody, however he swung at her, grazing her face and breaking her grip on him. Hensley bolted to Casey’s, then headed down East Ward Road, and ultimately by means of the car parking zone of Cherokee Elementary, with Soto in pursuit the complete time. After leaping a fence into the varsity yard, Soto noticed Hensley scale one other fence, and he ended up evading different law enforcement officials who have been close by. Soto mentioned she then overpassed Hensley, however shortly thereafter, he was arrested by one other group of officers.
When it got here time to obtain the Medal of Valor for her efforts to catch the suspect, Soto mentioned she didn’t anticipate to earn an award.
“I simply did what I felt like wanted to be completed. I did not even give it some thought,” Soto mentioned. “I used to be identical to, ‘Right here is that this wished suspect that the complete county and each company on this county is on the lookout for, and he is actually proper right here subsequent to me.’ I did not even second-guess. I simply went straight for making an attempt to get him.”
Soto mentioned Kywin Mooney, an off-duty Cherokee Nation deputy marshal, and two civilians — Miranda Downing and Alley Berry — have been those consuming together with her at Braum’s that evening. When she determined to pursue Hensley, Soto mentioned, her associates every helped in varied methods.
Soto mentioned she laughs together with her associates concerning the incident now, however on the time, she was in her “cop mode” and knew what wanted to be completed to make sure the protection of others.
Because the chase, Soto mentioned, she makes use of it as a reminder to at all times be ready.
“That proper there solidified that I’ll by no means go wherever with out my firearm,” Soto mentioned. “I’ll at all times conceal carry, simply because for me, as a regulation enforcement officer — perhaps not as a daily civilian — I personally really feel the necessity to leap in if one thing [serious like that] have been to occur. I really feel prefer it’s my obligation to try this.”
The TPD patrolman has been advised by some people that she was within the incorrect place on the incorrect time through the incident, however Soto believes she was there for a purpose, particularly since folks have been on the lookout for the suspect on the opposite facet of Tahlequah.
“As a Christian, I simply consider that God is in charge of every thing, and every thing occurs for a purpose. I really feel like he had me there for that purpose,” Soto mentioned.
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