OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The family of a woman and girl who were wounded in an Oklahoma restaurant shooting said Saturday that the victims didn’t know the gunman or why he attacked them as they walked into the lakeside restaurant for a birthday party.
Dennis Will said his daughter, 39-year-old Natalie Giles, was grazed by bullets and that her 12-year-old daughter was shot in the stomach during the Thursday night shooting. The suspected gunman, 28-year-old Alexander Tilghman, was shot dead moments later outside the Oklahoma City restaurant by two armed bystanders.
“She said she turned and saw him, she had no idea who he was,” Will said, recalling a conversation with his daughter.
Will said his granddaughter underwent surgery and was “still in a lot of pain” at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital on Saturday. The hospital said the girl was in good condition, and Will said his daughter was treated and released.
The mother and daughter, along with a 14-year-old family friend, were shot as they arrived for a birthday party at Louie’s On The Lake in Oklahoma City. Police said the family friend was shot in the arm or wrist, though no updates were provided Saturday.
The birthday dinner was for Giles’ other daughter, who wasn’t injured. Will said hundreds of people were in and around the restaurant at the time.
Police have said the shooting appeared to be random and confirmed that they’re looking into Tilghman’s mental health.
On a Facebook page that police said belonged to Tilghman, the man posts a video in which he claims his television is possessed by the devil. The page uses the same profile photo as a YouTube channel where a man that appears to be Tilghman also describes demons possessing his TV and being surrounded by computers.
He calmly begs for help from “a real human,” saying he’s suicidal, lonely and “really losing it.”
The director of the LGBT rights group Freedom Oklahoma said Tilghman is the same man who distributed flyers across Oklahoma City earlier this year warning of demons taking over people’s bodies. And a reporter with the LGBT publication The Gayly conducted an interview in January with Tilghman, who warned of “demons in cloned transexual (sic) bodies.”
Flyers with similar messages were plastered all over a vehicle Tilghman drove, said Ryan Beaulac, who lives in the apartment complex where Tilghman lived in northwest Oklahoma City. Beaulac said he was told by his landlord that nothing could be done because the postings were protected free speech.
Beaulac said Saturday that he saw Tilghman only once, a day before the shooting, while walking home with his 3-year-old daughter. Beaulac said Tilghman was acting strangely, so he moved to remove his daughter from the situation but Tilghman cursed at them. Beaulac said he turned to confront him, but Tilghman ran away.
Tilghman was licensed as an armed security guard, which authorized him to carry a firearm, said Gerald Konkler, general counsel for the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. The council certifies law enforcement officers and other armed personnel across the state. Obtaining such a license requires a background check and at least 72 hours of training.
Konkler said state law prohibits him from revealing whether there were any pending complaints against Tilghman, but said there were “no final orders against him” regarding potential disciplinary action.
Police have praised the two bystanders who confronted Tilghman on Thursday: Juan Carlos Nazario and Bryan Whittle, who each retrieved a firearm from their vehicle and shot Tilghman outside the restaurant.
“I just did what I was trained to do to neutralize the situation,” Nazario, a trained security guard, told local television station KWTV. Whittle also briefly spoke with the station, saying only that he “stopped the threat.”
Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy contributed to this report from Oklahoma City.
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