Chickasha Man Accused Of Setting Neighbors Home On Fire, Using Knife And Bat To Prevent Their Escape

Thursday, August 5th 2021, 10:49 pm
By: Clayton Cummins

CHICKASHA, Oklahoma -

A Chickasha family said they feel lucky to be alive after their neighbor set their mobile home on fire in the middle of the night.

Around 4:30 a.m. Friday, first responders were called to a home in the 800 block of West Nevada Avenue in Chickasha.

Police said Gabriel Checotah, 25, was arrested following the incident.

Mandi Ferrell said she was among her family of 7 adults and 3 three kids sound asleep Friday morning when smoke detectors inside began to go off.

They said it was hard to see inside.

“I’m blind as a bat without my contacts or glasses,” Ferrell said. “I couldn’t even see a foot in front of me, let alone understand what was going on.”

After frantically gathering the kids, the family doused flames at the front door before attempting to make an escape.

“The neighbor is on the front porch, and he is swinging a baseball bat at our heads telling us to get back,” Ferrell said. “We are trying to scream to get out, we have kids.”

In an attempt to get Checotah away from the front door, Ferrell said her brother punched him.

According to Ferrell, after throwing a punch Checotah then stabbed her brother in the arm. He was not seriously hurt.

The family managed to escape the flames and call 911.

“The guy (Checotah) is yelling at us, we have no idea what is going on,” Ferrell said. “I go and get the water hose to try and put out any kind of fire that I can see, and he comes running at me with a knife to stop me trying to put out the fire.”

Ferrell said the attack was unprovoked.

“He told police he tried to trap us, and he was trying to kill us,” Ferrell said.

The more days pass, Ferrell said, the harder it is to forget about what happened.

“The scariest part is, they are kids, they didn’t do anything,” Ferrell said. “They went to bed trusting us and then woke up to trying to be killed by someone they don’t even know.”

The family has since found another place to live after losing everything in the fire.

Having watched their life flash before their eyes Ferrell and family said what goes around, comes around.

“He doesn’t know the danger he put my child, my niece and nephew in. He doesn’t know how amazing they are,” Ferrell said. “The life he tried to take; he doesn’t deserve to live to see anything else happen to anybody.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family get back on their feet.

Chickasha police said federal prosecutors will determine what charges he'll face, if any.