Oklahoma police release identity of deadly jail hostage suspect

Oklahoma police release identity of deadly jail hostage suspect

March 30, 2021

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An Oklahoma City jail inmate who was killed by authorities last week while allegedly holding a detention officer hostage had a “makeshift weapon” to the officer’s throat before he was fired upon, authorities said Monday. 

The Oklahoma City Police Department said the employee was in “imminent peril” when two of its officers opened fire on Curtis Williams. 

Williams, 34, was part of a band of inmates who took a detention officer hostage Saturday on the 10th floor of the Oklahoma County Detention Center. The floor is where the jail’s most difficult inmates to manage are assigned. 

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Curtis Montrell Williams
(Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office )

The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the police department as the chaos unfolded. 

The two police officers who fired their weapons — identified as Lt. Coy Gilbert, a 23-year department veteran and Officer Kevin Kuhlman, who has been on the force for five years, have been placed on routine administrative leave. The detention officer was rescued and taken to a hospital for treatment after being beaten and stabbed by inmates while he was held.  

The officer’s condition was not immediately known. 

It was not clear how many times Williams was struck or how many rounds were fired. An investigation into the incident is ongoing. Officer body camera footage will be released in the near future, authorities said. 

Williams was booked into the jail in April 2019 on several charges, including first-degree rape and firearm possession, according to jail records. He was additionally charged with assault and battery upon a detention facility employee. 

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In several videos recorded by one of the inmates involved in the hostage situation, one said “we can’t take showers.”

Another said: “Ain’t got nothing to do with this CO [corrections officer]. He just so happens to be a product of the situation.”

In a news conference Monday, Williams’ loved ones said he was speaking out against poor jail conditions. 

“I knew Curtis for 34 years and I know for sure that he would not just go out and kidnap anyone,” said Rhonda Lambert, according to The Oklahoman newspaper. “Conditions in the jail caused my son and so many others like him to lose self-control.”

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