TPD: Homicide detectives investigating after man arrested for armed robbery died in police custody

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Police confirmed to FOX23 Friday afternoon that the department’s homicide division is investigating after a man died in police custody this week.

Thursday, Tulsa Police said 40-year-old Ramond Thompson, an armed robbery suspect, died while in police custody Wednesday night.

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, Tulsa Police officers responded to reports of an armed robbery at the 2-Go Food Mart near E Pine and N Irvington Ave. Police said officers at the scene learned that two men robbed the business with a gun and fired at least one round inside the store. The men left in a silver sedan, according police.

“While they’re in [2-Go Food Mart] robbing the place, they had a pistol with them,” explained Tulsa Police Public Information Officer Richard Meulenberg. “And they fired at least one round outside.”

Police said one victim at the convenience store sustained non-life-threatening injuries from the shot fired by the suspect.

“The employee was struck in the foot. We don’t believe it was a direct shot as if the suspect was shooting at that person,” Meulenberg said. “We believe that they were just firing in the store. We believe it ricocheted.”

At 8:28 p.m., shortly after the robbery, police said an officer saw the suspect’s vehicle on Pine near Highway 11 and tried to stop them, but the vehicle took off. A brief pursuit between officers and the suspects led to a dead end near a home on E Xyler St, and police said the suspects jumped out of the car and ran in different directions.

The home had a steep drop off along the backside that lead to a heavily wooded area, according to police. Police said the terrain was rocky and overgrown with “no lighting and very poor visibility.”

One suspect jumped off the back patio and fell into a dark area. At this time, police said the suspect has not been found.

Thompson was the other suspect, and police said he ran behind the house, climbed on top of the metal railing on the back patio, then jumped over the edge. Police said Thompson likely tumbled “30 feet down a steep, rocky embankment into a dark wooded area.”

A backing Tulsa Police officer and his K-9 Unit arrived on the scene and started tracking Thompson. Police said he continued to run from officers after tumbling down the embankment.

“K-9 finds one of the suspects about 300 feet from where he either fell or jumped off this ridge,” Meulenberg said.

The K-9 unit tracked Thompson around 300 feet away from the house and found him hiding in brush. The dog bit Thompson on his upper arm and the officer was able to arrest him, according to police.

As officers escorted Thompson back to the closest street, they said he was falling over and had difficulty breathing.

“This whole time we’re walking the suspect out, he’s conscious, and he’s talking to us. His breathing was a bit labored,” Meulenberg explained.

Tulsa Fire arrived at the scene and gave Thompson medical treatment, according to police. EMSA arrived after and transported Thompson to the hospital, but police said he died from his injuries.

Meulenberg said the Medical Examiner’s preliminary results indicated Thompson’s death was caused by injuries sustained from the fall.

“The fall is the leading cause, but we won’t know for sure until a full autopsy,” he said.

A neighbor who lives in the area where Thompson was arrested spoke to FOX23 about the incident.

“[It’s] something that didn’t even have to happen and evolve,” the neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “And then something tragic turns out of it. It’s rather a sad thing no matter what happened in the circumstances.”

The neighbor described seeing police arrive on scene Wednesday night.

“I had to come outside, and I [saw] that there were blue lights out here, one single [police] car, and a grey car in front of it,” the neighbor said.

They continued, “As soon as I came around the building, I realized there was a magazine, a pistol magazine, on the ground. On the other side of the railing, there was a bunch of cash and a pistol that did not have a magazine in it.”

Meulenberg said police are still searching for the second suspect who got away Wednesday.

“Now we’re going to see, this other person who fled and got away. There may be a connection, not only for the robbery, but to have them charged with this persons death to some degree as well,” he explained.

Police explained that if someone is committing a crime, and a person dies while the crime is taking place, legally, they can be held responsible for the death. Whether or not to prosecute those cases is ultimately up to the District Attorney.

“[Thompson] is ultimately someone’s dad, someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s best friend,” the neighbor said. “We may not agree with his past or his history, but he is a still a human when it comes down to brass tax.”

FOX23 reached out to the District Attorney’s office Friday, but they haven’t responded at this time. This is a developing story. FOX23 will continue to follow this story.