Logan County Deputy David Wade
Logan County Deputy Sheriff David Wade was delivering an eviction notice to a home in Mulhall on his own Tuesday when one of the people at the residence pulled out a gun and fired at the officer in the face and multiple times in the body at approximately 9:20 a.m.
Prior to the attack, Wade and the other man, Nathan Leforce who was at the residence to assist the couple in moving, were having a small conversation as the home owners collected their information for the officer. As Wade received identification from all three at the residence, he returned to his vehicle where he ran the information. In the body camera footage recently released from the Logan County Sheriffs office, Wade notes that something was "fishy" about the situation.
As he walked back to other three, he was met by Leforce holding a pistol. Leforce fired at Wade in the face and body multiple times. According to Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux, Wade immediately called over the radio for assistance and fired back at Leforce in defense. Devereaux commented that Wade kept fighting despite his injuries.
After firing, Leforce stole the Deputy vehicle and began to drive North and the other two fled separately. Shortly after the attack, Logan County deputies, an ambulance, a medical response helicopter, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and various police agencies were on site.
According to Devereaux, Wade was immediately put in the ambulance where the response team began working to stabilize him.
"When I got here he was in an ambulance answering questions," Devereaux said.
Wade spoke to units on site about what had happened leading up to the attack as witnesses were being questioned. The deputy remained in the ambulance until he was stable enough to be moved in the helicopter to the OU Medical Center.
While Wade was receiving treatment on site, and a portion of law enforcement agents were securing the scene, the search for Leforce was already underway. Nearly every agency available arrived to help locate Leforce.
When Wade was loaded into the helicopter and transported to the OU Medical Center, it was reported that Leforce had stopped at Smitty's gas station off of Interstate 33 and Henney Road in Coyle where he left the Deputy's vehicle and stole a Grey Mazda 3 that was in the parking lot.
Following the transportation of Wade to the hospital and the release of the new vehicle being used by Leforce, Devereaux gave an update on the situation. He noted that Wade had been with the department for multiple years at that time and he was former military.
"I can tell you it is a very emotional experience. There were several times this morning I fought back tears with my guys. It hurts to see one of your own hurt. ... 24 years in law enforcement and this is my worst. Like I told my wife, the one thing, the biggest fear of my life is presiding over one of my deputy's funerals," Devereaux said.
As the day progressed and the investigation continued, the authorities continued to follow Leforce into Northern Logan County. As they pursued, they found the stolen vehicle near a section of woods and mobile homes. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Logan County Sheriff's Department, OHP, and other departments narrowed down his location to a square radius on Jaxton Road and set up a perimeter.
At this same time, Devereaux was at OU Medical with Wade as the medical professionals continued to work on repairing his injuries. Unfortunately, just after noon on Tuesday, Wade's condition took a sharp turn as he went into cardiac arrest as a result of his injuries and passed away.
The word of his passing was quickly passed around to all the agencies who continued their search for Leforce. Less than three hours later, the agencies on the ground found the trailer home Leforce was hiding in, surrounded it and talked him out of the building. Leforce was apprehended without firing any additional shots.
Nathan Leforce (left), Christine Lute (center) and John Lute (right).
As he was being arrested, it was found he had abandoned his weapon from the initial attack somewhere along his route. Leforce was put into one of the Law enforcement agents vehicle with multiple agents headed toward the Logan County jail. The vehicle carrying Leforce was escorted by multiple other vehicles to ensure the man arrived at the jail with no further incidents.
Those who did not escort Leforce to the jail began searching for the gun he had abandoned. They quickly determined it was not left in the home he was hiding in or the vehicles he utilized in his attempted escape. The authorities continue to search the path he took for the gun.
That evening, the body of Deputy David Wade was escorted to the Smith-Gallo Funeral Home in Guthrie by a procession of law enforcement vehicles ranging from motorcycles to police cruisers of every agency available. Along the route to Guthrie, multiple Fire Departments and other public safety agencies lined bridges and streets to honor Wade.
As the processional entered Guthrie, a direct path to the funeral home was cleared by the fire department and Guthrie Police. Many residents of the area stood Division as the line of vehicles passed through. The servicemen on the street saluted and the civilians stood in respectful silence, the only sound in the city was the sirens from the vehicles.
Leforce was then moved to Payne County until his arraignment on Thursday April 20. Shortly after, the couple who owned the home where Wade was shot were taken into custody. The man, John Lute, was arrested for failure to appear on Controlled Dangerous Substance charges. The woman, Christine Lute, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Neither are being charged in the attack and murder of Wade.
"When I got word that he (Leforce) was in custody, I contacted my undersheriff and made arrangements for him to be held elsewhere. I am not going to put that on my staff to see this guy every day and I really don't want him in my facility. So the Sheriff in Payne County was gracious enough to offer their county jail for that," Devereaux said.
Wade was a Guthrie native who spent time in the Army, worked with the Logan County Sheriff's Department for multiple years and leaves behind a wife and three children. Devereaux said the ultimate goal of his department at this time is to support the family.
"We will grieve as a family here on our own, hopefully we have all started that. Some are still trying to figure that out. So we are grieving together but, our goal at this point in time is to support the Wade family," Devereaux said.
On Wednesday, the day after the attack, Wade's family and members of the Sheriff's department worked to plan funeral arrangements. It was determined that a visitation period would be held from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday April 23 and a funeral service will be held at the Lazy E. Arena at 1 p.m. Monday April 24. Deputy David Wade will be laid to rest at the Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie.
Late Wednesday evening, the U.S. Honor Flag arrived in Logan County from Wisconsin. The flag was headed to North Texas from Wisconsin but, hours after leaving its former location, the route was diverted to Guthrie to honor Wade.
The justice system moved quickly to begin holding Leforce responsible for his actions. The arraignment for Leforce took place in the early afternoon Thursday, just two days after the attack. During the arraignment, District Attorney Laura Thomas announced that she would be pursuing the death penalty in the case on the charges of First Degree Murder and two counts of vehicle theft.
"That's what it (the death penalty) is there for. There is nobody that I know of that deserves it more than him," Devereaux said in a press conference shortly after the arraignment.
After the arraignment concluded, Devereaux said Leforce was immediately taken back to the Payne County jail where he will be staying for the duration of the case.
Devereaux said there has been a huge outpouring of support for the family and the department since the attack. He noted the flowers that have been placed on the steps of the departments office and a picture made by some of the inmates in the Logan County jail.
"I had a drawing that one of our detention deputy's gave me from a couple of the inmates in jail. So we have got guys in the back that are feeling our pain and trying to send what condolences they can from back there. ... You know, the outpouring from outside this facility has been phenomenal and to see our guys in the back that we put back there, are obviously concerned for us too," Devereaux said.
As the Sheriff regarded Wade and what he did in his life, Devereaux responded simply with, "He served as a hero and died as one."
The drawing made for Sheriff Damon Devereaux by some of the Logan County inmates