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Cops: Man gave bandages, assault rifle to Okla. manhunt suspect

Michael Vance, left, and Danny Roach, right

KOTV

OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. -- Authorities on Monday charged an Oklahoma City man with aiding a fugitive suspected in a string of violent crimes across the state -- including the killing of two relatives and the shooting of three law enforcement officers – who was shot dead Sunday evening in a gun battle with law enforcement officers, ending a massive week-long manhunt.

Authorities charged 34-year-old Danny Roach of Oklahoma City with aiding Michael Vance after police say Vance had shot and wounded two Wellston police officers and killed his aunt and his uncle in Luther Oct. 23. Police also announced they are searching for two others they say helped Vance.

Roach provided Vance with bandages, an assault rifle and ammunition, said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

Vance, 38, was suspected of shooting a woman and stealing her vehicle at a mobile home park near Wellston, then driving about eight miles to his relatives’ mobile home in Luther and killing them.

Ronald Everett Wilkson, 55, had been shot and had stab wounds to his neck “consistent with an attempt to sever his head,” an arrest affidavit said. Valerie Kay Wilkson, 54, had similar neck wounds along with defensive wounds on her arms, the affidavit stated. Whetsel said the couple were Vance’s aunt and uncle.

Authorities also believe Vance filmed two Facebook Live videos documenting his run from police before going to the Wilksons’ mobile home.

Whetsel has described the deaths of the Wilksons as a “rage killing” and said Vance had likely developed a list of potential targets connected to a pending sexual assault case filed against him. Vance had been scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 7 to face felony child sex abuse charges after a 15-year-old girl accused him of sexual assault.

Police say Danny Roach came into contact with Vance Oct. 23 at Roach’s home in Oklahoma City immediately after the murders of his relatives in Luther. Roach allegedly admitted that Vance came to his home, and told him to look at his Facebook page to find out what had happened. According to an affidavit, Roach said he knew that Vance had just killed two people and had been involved in a shootout with law enforcement.

Roach said Vance described “cutting the wrong side” of one of the victims’ necks and said he then cut the other side as well. Roach said Vance admitted to killing the female victim after she lied to him, the affidavit says.

The affidavit alleges Roach gave Vance bandages for the wounds Vance sustained. It also says Roach admitted to giving Vance two 30-round magazines which Roach taped together for Vance and a different assault rifle “that would give Vance a better tactical advantage due to its shorter length.” Roach took the weapon Vance allegedly used to kill the two murder victims in exchange, according to the affidavit.

Police say in the affidavit the gun Roach gave to Vance belonged to 33-year-old Reginald Moore, and that a woman Roach lives with, April Harden, who also goes as April Roach, called Moore to ask his permission to give the gun to Vance. The affidavit says Moore had been storing the AK-47 with Harden, 36, and Roach.

Authorities allege Harden also gave bandages to Vance.

Police allege Moore agreed to the exchange of the rifles, purchased a pair of needle nose pliers and used the tool in an attempt to remove a bullet that may have still been lodge inside Vance.

Roach allegedly told investigators he acted as a “lookout” for Vance when a police car drove by his home, telling him when it was clear to leave. Whetsel wouldn’t detail the connection between Roach and Vance or say why Roach allegedly helped Vance.

After a tip from a farmer led authorities on Sunday to a camp site near Hammon in far western Oklahoma, the manhunt intensified for Vance.

Several troopers were chasing Vance, who was driving a stolen flatbed pickup truck, when the vehicle went off the road near Leedey, 130 miles northwest of Oklahoma City and 45 miles north of where he was last seen a week earlier.

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Reginald Moore

Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

“He exited the vehicle and engaged our troopers in a pretty fierce gun battle,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons.”It’s probably safe to say he (Vance) was hit more than once.”

Vance was pronounced dead at the scene, and authorities plan to release dashboard-camera video of the shooting during a press conference on Tuesday, Timmons said.

Earlier Sunday, Vance shot and wounded Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander after Sander stopped a pickup truck to warn the driver about a chain dragging behind it.

After Sander managed to broadcast a description of the pickup truck, Oklahoma Highway Patrol air units in the area were able to spot the vehicle, and a chase ensued, Timmons said.

Vance said the gun used in the sheriff’s shooting and another shooting in Sayre was believed to be the one given to him by Roach, a convicted felon who was arrested Oct. 29 by U.S. Marshals. When authorities located Roach they found him in possession of several guns including two rifles and two handguns, reports CBS affiliate KOTV. 

Sander underwent surgery Monday morning and is recovering from his injuries, which are not life-threatening, said Dewey County office deputy Judy Junkins.

Timmons said the authorities were tipped off to Vance’s whereabouts by a farmer who spotted a vehicle in his field that matched the description of the car the fugitive was thought to be driving.

“The vehicle was covered with brush and tumbleweeds,” Timmons said. “It appears that he had been camped out there for some time.

“Apparently by the time law enforcement made it to the scene, he had already fled the area ... so we started gearing up for a full-scale manhunt.”

Roach was charged Monday with two counts of accessory to felony murder after the fact, two counts of possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. He also faces two counts of shooting with intent to kill because he provided the weapon Vance used in the shooting of the Dewey County sheriff and of a man near Sayre during an attempted carjacking.

Roach was being held without bond Monday, and court records don’t indicate if he’s been assigned an attorney.

Authorities are still searching for Moore, who is facing two counts of accessory to felony murder and two counts of principle party to shooting with intent to kill, and Harden, who is charged with two counts of accessory to felony murder.