On June 27, 2015 Officers of the Tahlequah Police Department responded to 532
½ S. Mission for a fight involving weapons. Once on the scene officers
encountered several persons at the residence, a stolen vehicle and multiple
firearms in the stolen vehicle. The persons they initially encountered were less
than honest when asked about addition occupants of the home. After being on
scene for several minutes the call began to escalate quickly when a man appeared
from a gable vent. The man pointed a handgun at officers and refused to comply
with orders given to drop the weapon. Officers posted at corners of the residence
and advised dispatch to activate the Special Operations Team.
A few minutes later the man emerged from the gable vent on the South end of
the residence and pointed his firearm at officer Bell, who was ordering the subject
“don’t do it”. The man, Joshua Crittenden, leapt from the attic, gun in hand and
then encountered Officer Randy Tanner. Crittenden raised his gun at Tanner and
Tanner fired, hitting and killing Mr. Crittenden.
Through the 25 minute ordeal leading up to the shooting Officers Randy Tanner,
Reed Felts, Pam Bell and Bronson McNiel were courageous, professional and
poised. They displayed bravery in the face of imminent danger. Following the
incident there weren’t high fives and celebration, there were tears, there were
embraces and there was relief.
The Tahlequah Police Department, City of Tahlequah and Law Enforcement across
our nation should be proud of these officers for how they handled the situation
For these reasons I am presenting Officer Randy Tanner with the Police Medal of
Honor, the highest honor available for law enforcement, and Officer Reed Felts,
Pam Bell and Bronson McNiel with the Medal of Valor.