2 Officers Praised For De-escalation Tactics In Dealing With 2 Armed Okla. Co. Men

Wednesday, January 20th 2021, 5:25 pm
By: Jennifer Pierce

SPENCER, Oklahoma -

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office and the Oklahoma County district attorney cleared two officers involved in a New Year's Eve shootout with a Spencer man.

County officials commended the officers on Wednesday for how they de-escalated the dangerous situation.

Only a few months on the streets, Jones police Officer David Cagle was met with a life or death situation on New Year's Eve.

“Our job is to respond to emergencies,” said David Cagle, Jones Police Department. “We don’t get to pick the time or the place or the situations that we do to.”

Cagle responded as backup to a domestic fight near NE 50th and Douglas Boulevard. A Spencer police officer was there and was confronted by Hugo Gomez, who told them he was armed.

The officers were able to detain Gomez and get his gun. Gomez told them two men lived upstairs and one of them was armed.

When the officers went into the home, they were met with gunfire from Jose Lazaro-Valdez. 

“They returned fire on that subject,” said Capt. Robert Tye, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. “Fortunately, no on was hit in the exchange of gunfire.”

The officers retreated for cover. They started a dialogue with the armed man and moved into position to have the upper-hand.

“Between the conversation and the fact that he’s now on the ‘short end of the stick’ shall we say,” said Lt. C.O. Moore, Spencer Police Department. “He took it upon himself to surrender.” 

Lazaro-Valdez and Gomez were taken into custody and no one was injured.

The young officers were praised for their quick thinking and calm actions.

“They had the opportunity within a span of about 15 minutes when they were confronted with two life or death situations, where they could have been justified in using lethal force,” Tye said.

Instead, the officers used their de-escalation training to save lives.

“They were extraordinary,” said Moore. “They used their brains and instead of their trigger finger.”

The officers plan to take crisis intervention training (CIT) in the coming months.

Lazaro-Valdez was charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. Gomez has not been officially charged.