Oklahoma fugitive suspected of killing relatives dies in shootout with police
LINCOLN COUNTY, Okla. — Michael Vance’s savage week of killings, police shootings and boasting on Facebook ended in a final act of violence when the fugitive was killed in a shootout, authorities said.
Vance, 38, had been on the run since October 23 — the day he allegedly shot two Oklahoma officers and killed two relatives. After wounding the officers, Vance appeared on Facebook Live, bragging about his exploits and portending more violence to come.
His demise came Sunday after Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander pulled him over. That’s when gunfire erupted.
A chaotic final day
Vance had been camping out in Hammon, Oklahoma, about 150 miles west of where his rampage began in Wellston. On Sunday, he managed to evade authorities hot on his trail by fleeing in a car.
Around 9:30 p.m., Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander caught up with Vance and pulled him over. But Vance shot the sheriff in the left forearm and shoulder and escaped once again, U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Dave Turk said.
About 45 minutes later, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper found Vance, and a second shootout ensued, Turk said. Vance was killed, ending an intense, week-long manhunt for the suspected killer and child abuser.
How the rampage unfolded
Sunday, October 23
Vance shot and wounded two Wellston police officers who were responding to a disturbance call, authorities said.
The wounded officers returned fire, striking Vance at least twice, the Lincoln County sheriff said. Vance managed to flee in a stolen patrol car.
While still in the stolen police car, Vance posted a video on Facebook.
“This is more intense than I thought it would be, to say the least,” he said. “This truck is about dead … I’m about to steal another car. Like right now.”
Investigators believe Vance then shot a woman while trying to steal a Lincoln Town Car.
Authorities spotted a Lincoln Town Car at a house in Luther, just northeast of Oklahoma City. There, police found the bodies of Robert and Valerie Kay Wilkson — later identified as relatives of Vance’s. The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office declined to specify their relation to Vance.
Both were stabbed, and Robert Wilkson was also shot. Based on the stab wounds, the killer apparently tried to behead Wilkson and dismember his wife.
Monday, October 24
Authorities executed a search warrant on the house and found a pink T-shirt believed to be the one Vance wore in his Facebook videos.
They also found two shell casings — a kind typically fired from an AK-47. Police believe a weapon shown in one of Vance’s Facebook videos was an AK-47.
Tuesday through Sunday, October 30
Vance continued eluding authorities. Oklahoma Highway Patrol warned that Vance had a “medical condition and may try to spread disease.”
Authorities did not specify the disease, but Oklahoma County Sheriff’s spokesman Mark Opgrande called it “a communicable disease that can be transmitted by blood.”
“It’s possible he may attempt to spread it to others if he is put in a situation where that would be possible,” Opgrande said.
Sander, the Dewey County sheriff, pulled Vance over near Hammon, in the western part of the state. The sheriff was wounded in a shootout, and Vance escaped.
An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper later spotted Vance, who was killed in a second shootout.
Child sex abuse allegations
Vance was incensed after he was arrested in July on accusations of child sexual assault, his uncle Tony Heavner told CNN affiliate KFOR. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said Vance had been recently released from jail.
In one of his Facebook Live posts, Vance thanked his sister for “believing in me.”
“Everything that was said, it was all a setup,” Vance said while on the run.
Heavner said he now thinks Vance may have begun planning his rampage weeks earlier since he asked relatives to help him get a gun.
“Members of the family actually (were) unknowingly helping him get all of the guns and all that stuff,” Heavner told CNN affiliate KFOR last week.
But Heavner said he couldn’t predict the violent events that followed. “This is a nightmare we can’t wake up from,” he said.