Tahlequah Daily Press

November 29, 2012

School official scuffles with deputies

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A sheriff’s report sent to the District Attorney’s Office this week details a Hulbert School Board member’s run-in with authorities last Wednesday.

According to the report prepared by Sheriff’s Sgt. Waylon Tarkington, deputies were called to the Hulbert home of Rickey Dale Gassaway, 50, after a domestic disturbance.

Tarkington’s report indicates he arrived and saw Gassaway run back into the home and shut the front door. Several minutes later, a woman and her son left the home and drove to a Tahlequah hospital to seek treatment. The woman’s shoulder had reportedly been injured when she and Gassaway were involved in a physical altercation. The teenage boy had also been injured by Gassaway, deputies said.

Tarkington asked Gassaway to step outside of the house, but Gassaway allegedly refused and went to retrieve a shotgun, which he began to waive around inside the house. Tarkington said he then retrieved his own rifle and notified other officers that Gassaway was armed.

Tarkington said he used a loudspeaker to talk with Gassaway and continued to ask him to exit the residence, but Gassaway refused. Gassaway allegedly told Tarkington he would have to shoot him.

The report indicates Gassaway eventually threw the gun outside but went back into the house. Deputies secured the gun, and Gassaway later stepped out onto the front porch and sat down. Tarkington told Gassaway he was going to be arrested and that he needed to put his hands behind his back.

At that point, Gassaway allegedly tried to get back into the house, but was taken to the ground and placed into custody. Gassaway reportedly admitted to deputies he might have consumed a six-pack of alcohol.

Gassaway and the female victim had reportedly gotten into an argument over finances, and Gassaway shoved her over a couch. Gassaway also allegedly tackled the teen boy, held him down, choked him and punched him, according deputies’ reports.

Gassaway was evaluated at Cherokee Nation Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah and later sent to a treatment facility in Tulsa, according to Tarkington’s report.

Employees at the Cherokee County Detention Center said Wednesday that Gassaway was not booked into their facility last week.

The address and date of birth of Gassaway listed on Tarkington’s report matches the same information printed on Gassaway’s last election filings in Cherokee County. Hulbert Public Schools’ website lists the same address and indicates Gassaway is the board president.