TULSA, Okla. — It's been one week since the tragic shooting at the Natalie Building on the Saint Francis campus, where a gunman killed four people.
In a special interview only on 2 News Oklahoma, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin sat down with morning anchor Justin Fischer. Franklin spoke about the day's tragic events, the response from the department and the Tulsa community.
He said, it's impossible to know exactly what would have happened, but he believes those officers that didn't hesitate, and initially went in, saved lives.
"There were officers in the right area at the right time that immediately responded. There was an officer that was on a traffic stop. And I believe he was the first unit arriving there because he was just right down the street," says Chief Franklin. "There were two officers that were off duty had just left work and they were picking up picking up dinner at at one of the restaurants nearby. They responded up there and I believe they were like the third or fourth person into the into the room into the building."
According to officials, officers went onto the second floor and identified themselves before they heard the final gunshot.
Chief Franklin also talked about what goes through the mind of an officer, as they race toward a threat:
"When we respond to that, we know that all of our safeguards that we would normally have to ourselves, we have to throw those out of the window and respond with the intent to engage, it is going to in our minds, it's going to be a violent engagement. It is going to be a bad day to be a police officer. But that is the mindset of every officer that entered that building. There were officers that enter that building that did not have their vest on. Because they were quickly trying to get into that building to save lives. And they disregard the safety of themselves to to engage that person or to change that person's behavior. To save lives."
Chief Franklin said there is probably not a person in his department that didn't have some kind of affiliation with one of the victims. He said during his follow up with his officers after the shooting, he told them that none of us are promised a tomorrow and to tell those close to you that you love them.
The Saint Francis Tulsa Tough is coming up this weekend. It's three days of non-stop cycling and plenty of entertainment throughout Tulsa. It comes, though, at a solemn time in our city.
Chief Franklin, a Tulsa native, talked about the event and said he wants the community to know the men and women on the Tulsa police force are here for them during this tough time.
"I think we're resilient community. I think the community wants to commemorate the moment, but also realize how important it is to live. So this is a great event for that," he said.
He also understands people might be anxious to get out but wants to reassure the community that TPD is in their corner.
"I understand people's anxiety about being out and about in our city. But I hope they realize that they have a lot of great men and women in uniform behind the badge that that are looking out for them and doing all that we can to ensure that everything remains safe," says Chief Franklin.
During a news conference with several other city leaders and Saint Francis officials, a reporter asked Chief Franklin about red flag laws, in reference to gun control legislation.
The chief said he would be willing to speak with any legislator who wanted to know his thoughts on how to make communities safer.
"Every law that's on the books impedes upon your freedom, as an American,” Franklin said. “And so how safe do Americans want to be? That's going to be the talking point. That's going to be the hot topic. And I'm glad I'm not a lawmaker, because those are very difficult to balance out."
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