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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Teenager in custody after shooting spree through Oklahoma

Monday, October 28, 2002

SALLISAW, Okla. -- A teenager apparently upset by complaints about his driving shot four neighbors, including a 2-year-old girl, then went on a 20-mile shooting spree, apparently targeting people at random, police said. Two victims died.

Daniel Fears, 18, was arrested after losing control of his pickup truck and crashing near a police roadblock, authorities said. As police cars surrounded him, he threw out a 20-gauge shotgun and surrendered, said Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kym Koch.

Authorities hadn't determined a motive for the Saturday rampage, but police said they believed Fears became angry when a neighbor scolded him for driving recklessly in the middle-class neighborhood.

"A man got onto him for driving erratically because he said he almost hit some kids," Koch said.

Fears was to be arraigned Monday on two charges of first-degree murder, said Sequoyah County District Attorney Diane Barker-Harrold.

She said prosecutors hadn't decided if they will seek the death penalty.

'Copy cat thing'

Some people in Sallisaw wondered if Fears was mimicking the sniper attacks in the Washington area.

"I think it's a copy cat thing," said Camellia Conley, an employee at a Sallisaw hotel. "He's been a rebel without a cause. He was always a loner, and always wore a black trench coat."

Koch said such speculation was premature. "It's way too early to say it's a copycat," Koch said.

Fears was described as a polite student who worked part-time at a Wal-Mart store and lived with his mother in Sallisaw, a town of about 8,000 people near the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line.

On Saturday, after neighbor Greg Caughman complained to Fears about his driving, Fears broke into his father's house and stole a shotgun, Koch said.

Police say he then shot Caughman, who was in a nearby yard, hitting the man in the back and in the neck, and wounding his 2-year-old daughter, who was sitting in a truck nearby. Both were hospitalized.

Fears then shot two other neighbors, Patsy and Elvie Wells. Patsy Wells, hit in the face and leg, died.

Her husband was hit in the chest and was hospitalized in fair condition Sunday.

Police said Fears then got into his pickup and headed east on U.S. 64 to a car dealership, where customer Reba Spangler, 68, of Fort Smith, Ark., was killed.

Unknown connection

Authorities on Sunday didn't know if Fears had any connection to the dealership or the victims.

Ronnie Boswell of Muskogee, owner of the dealership, said salesman Jim Nunn, of Muskogee, tried to get away, but the gunman "shot him in the chest and knocked him off the curb into the street and then shot him in the back." Nunn was hospitalized in fair condition.

Police said Fears continued firing as he drove down the highway, wounding two people who were shopping at a roadside statuary store.

After he drove away from the store, he fired into a pickup and wounded a man in the arm and chest, authorities said.

A short time later, he shot a pedestrian walking with her young children in the town of Muldrow, injuring the woman, authorities said.

The children, one of whom was in a stroller, were not harmed.

Fears also shot at but did not hit a police officer from Muldrow, Koch said.

A teacher at Sallisaw High School, where Fears is a senior, said nothing she had seen at the school indicated Fears was capable of such violence.

"It's just devastating. I dread going back to school," said teacher Fran Bewley, who lives two blocks from the scene of the first shootings.


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