Former Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rick Treadwell acknowledged in an interview with The Frontier that he was wounded Saturday in an accidental shooting at the Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show.
Treadwell, who now works in security at the Tulsa International Airport, said he was shot in his middle finger by Brian Pounds, a Tulsa County Assessor’s Office employee. Pounds, a former candidate for Tulsa County commissioner, was a reserve deputy under former Sheriff Stanley Glanz.
During his tenure as a reserve deputy, Pounds was involved in a botched 2005 raid in which Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel, also a reserve deputy, shot a man named Danny Foutch in the buttocks.
Pounds said Foutch, who was the subject of the raid, ran into him and struggled with Pounds over a weapon, a claim Foutch denied. That shooting happened in Okmulgee County, and the District Attorney’s Office there eventually ruled that the shooting was justified.
Pounds could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Treadwell said he didn’t lose his finger as a result of Saturday’s shooting, but the bullet remains lodged in his finger.
Treadwell said he, Pounds, and Skiatook Police Chief Pat Dean were working security inside River Spirit Expo at the entrance near the Tulsa Driller statue when the shooting occurred. As one of two major entrances to a show attended by tens of thousands of people, the area can be heavily populated.
The Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show bills itself as the world’s largest gun show and boasts several thousand tables for exhibitors. Crowds to the two shows (one is hosted each spring and one is hosted each fall) number up to 45,000.
The Tulsa World reported that this year’s show featured ‘the earliest machine gun, a 16-shot wheel-lock rifle built in Germany in 1590.’ The article mentioned that last November’s presidential election resulted in a lowering of prices for many guns, as sales related to panic over former President Barack Obama’s gun policies leveled off.
Joe Wanenmacher did not return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.
Treadwell said he reviewed surveillance footage of the shooting and saw Pounds take a gun out of a bag, aim it at a wall, and pull the trigger.
“I guess he didn’t check the magazine,” Treadwell said of Pounds. “He pointed it at the wall and squeezed. You could see me jump and grab my hand.”
The website for the show stresses “no loaded guns.” And though concealed and open carry is permitted, guns are supposed to be unloaded.
“All guns must be unloaded and tied inoperable,” the website states. “A crowded gun show is no place for a loaded gun.”
A similar shooting happened at the show in 2000, according to an article by The Oklahoman. A man named Jacob Hurst was arrested on a complaint of reckless handling of a firearm after his loaded firearm went off and struck someone in the leg, the article states.
That shooting was only the second in the show’s history, Wanenmacher said in the article.
Treadwell, who has to return to the doctor Wednesday, said he has worked security at the show for 35 years.
Despite the fact that the shooting took place at a Tulsa County-run facility, the security during the event was handled privately.
Expo Square CEO Mark Andrus said the gun show is so large that the facility is cleaned up and then handed off to the show’s administrators.
“In this particular show, (Joe Wanenmacher) handles everything,” Andrus said. “That means security, overnight security, gun safety, all of it.”
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office took a report on the shooting, according to Undersheriff George Brown, but he said it was too early to determine if charges could be filed.
Despite the safety measures taken at gun shows across the country, shootings do happen. Last fall, a North Carolina woman was shot in the head outside the Dixie Gun and Knife Show after someone outside the show apparently mistook a loaded handgun for a different unloaded gun.
Television station WRAL said it was the second shooting at the show in three years. The previous shooting occurred in 2013, when a shotgun accidentally went off at the check-in station as it was being removed from its case. Three people were wounded in that shooting.