OKEMAH, Oklahoma — Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Tribal Police Department Captain Patrick Williams and partner, K-9 Nitro were called to Okemah, Okla., June 22, to assist Okemah Police Department in apprehending a man who had felony warrants.
“I received a call about a suspect and was asked if we were able to assist,” Williams said. “He had ran from them [OPD] in the past and ran from them again that morning.”
Williams said when him and Nitro made it to the area where the suspect was at, the scenario worked in their favor.
“It was perfect for Nitro,” Williams said. “The wind was in our face. They had an awesome perimeter set up and that is a key to catching these bad guys.”
Williams said the felon did not have much of an option but to hide so when the K-9 unit stepped out of their vehicle they announced that they were there and the dog would be released.
“I announced that we were there three times or I would release my dog,” he said.
After no response, the duo took off into the wooded area.
“Nitro has a smell on the suspect and alerted me that he got a scent,” he said. I heard movement in the bushes so I knew this guy was running.”
Williams announced one more time for the suspect to stop or he would send Nitro after him.
“He continued to run,” he said.
Unbeknownst to Williams there was a pond in the area where they were looking the person until they heard a splash.
“That was about the same time I released Nitro after the suspect,” he said.
Williams ran to the pond bank and noticed the person back-pedaling from Nitro and he shouted to the person to surrender and he would call Nitro back.
However, Eddie Havens, the suspect had other plans.
“Nitro bit him on the right wrist and as soon as he got bit, he [Havens] turns and grabs him with his left hand and pushes Nitro under[water],” Williams said.
Williams announces to Havens to let go of is dog while he is in the water heading towards him.
“I have full gear on and Nitro has a 25-foot long leash and he is in danger,” he said. “Where we end up getting into our scuffle we are in shoulder deep water.”
During this time, Nitro is still underwater. Williams begins to strike Havens in the face to get him to release Nitro.
“It seemed like forever but it was only 30-40 seconds that he was holding Nitro under,” he said.
Williams was able to get a chokehold on Havens and when his body went limp, Nitro was able to come up but the suspect still had some fight in him.
“The suspect went after me and Nitro was able to get his wits about him and bit the suspect again on the left wrist this time,” Williams said.
K-9 dogs are taught once they have a bit on the suspect they are not to release until instructed by their handler. Under the circumstances Nitro released his bite because he was also fighting for air.
Eventually they were able to get Havens out of the pond and one of the officers from OPD was able to handcuff him.
Williams said after the arrest of Havens, he checked on Nitro to make sure he was okay.
“He was ready to roll again,” he said. “He was fine just not too happy with the suspect.”
When being walked back to the vehicles, suspects such as Haven are to walk in front of the dogs to make sure they resist the urge to run, but there is also another reason.
“It gives the dog confidence,” Williams said. “It is letting the dog know that he won the fight and was able to apprehend the suspect.”
Williams had some great things to say about Nitro.
“Nitro puts his life on the line just like we do,” he said. “He protects us as much as we protect him.”