An Oklahoma homeowner who allegedly shot his town’s police chief was released from custody on the same day of the incident without facing charges, according to state authorities. Officials said they believe the suspect didn’t realize police had broken down his front door and were inside his home when they raided it in response to an apparent bomb threat.
Sentinel, Oklahoma Police Chief Louis Ross and sheriff’s deputies entered the suspect’s home early last Thursday morning after an emergency caller alerted police to a bomb threat at a nearby school that they thought originated from the man’s residence. Law enforcement authorities didn’t release the man’s name, but Sentinel Mayor Sam Dlugonski and a neighbor identified him as Dallas Horton.
At around 6 a.m. local time, Horton allegedly shot Ross “several times in the chest” and arm, according to a press release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). Moments before the incident, one of the deputies had loaned a bulletproof vest to Ross, which authorities said saved the police chief’s life. Ross was later treated and released from a local hospital.
Horton allegedly shot multiple rounds before he surrendered to the officers. Horton’s wife was reportedly home at the time.
Signs on either side of Horton’s front door referred to zombies, according to The Oklahoman. One read: “Certified zombie killer.” Another said: “Warning: zombies inside enter at your own risk.” The mayor, who told local media he knew Horton, described Horton as a “gun enthusiast” and “survivalist.”
A dispatcher responded to a 911 call placed around 4 a.m. local time on Thursday. The caller said a bomb had been placed at the community center. Ross and the deputies searched Horton’s home, where authorities believed the call originated. Members of a bomb squad simultaneously checked for an explosive device at the building.
After the raid, agents with OSBI briefly detained and questioned Horton. They said they didn’t have enough evidence to arrest Horton.
“Facts surrounding the case [led] agents to believe the man was unaware it was officers who made entry,” the OSBI said in a news release posted on Facebook.
Authorities later discovered the bomb threat didn’t come from Horton’s home. OSBI didn’t immediately respond to msnbc’s request for comment on Monday. Agents seized multiple firearms from Horton’s home, but no explosives were found, The Oklahoman reported.