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Tulsa ties annual homicide record of 71, police scramble to find answers

Posted at 6:36 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 19:36:36-05

TULSA -- With weeks left to go, 2016 appears likely to be Tulsa's deadliest year on record.

The first, and the time Tulsa recorded 71 homicides was back in 2009. Now, detectives believe this year could be another one for the record books.

“We are starting to run a little bit dry so we need to make sure everyone's fresh,” said Sergeant Dave Walker.

71 people are dead and in 91% of those cases, someone is behind bars.

Walker, a member of the Tulsa Police Homicide Division, says many of this year's cases have one thing in common.

“People are using guns to resolve their differences as opposed to walking away, running away, whatever,” he said.

Among those gun-related deaths, six involved a Tulsa Police officer pulling the trigger.

A spike with no pattern, no particular area, no demographic.

“You keep thinking it's going to let up, but it didn't,” said former Homicide Sergeant Mike Huff.

For Huff, it's deja vu. He ran Tulsa's Homicide division before he retired five years ago.

Huff now focuses his time on private investigations and cold cases, but says this year is reminescent of 2009.

“I hardly remember a week where there wasn't one or two days that started at one or two in the morning and worked until eight or nine that evening,” he said. “There was no real pattern, so it wasn't like you could say let's start a task force.”

The lack of pattern leaves detectives drained they say...putting in long overtime hours to find suspects before they can kill again.

“They're really solving some cases and these aren't the easy ones either,” Huff said. “When you have a year like this, you're stretched so thin and it really affects your whole life.”

Police believe they'll surpass the record they've already reached.

Several suspicious deaths could be ruled as murderputting detectives back in the streets and on the hunt.

“We know who you are and we're going to come after you. And chances are, 9 out of 10 times, you'll wind up for the rest of your life in prison.,” said Walker.

Sergeant Dave Walker says what's missing this year are homicides caused by gang activity.

He credits that to TPD's Gang Unit and the progress they've made in Tulsa's neighborhoods.

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