Tahlequah Daily Press

September 24, 2013

Mother, son, fight off burglar in home

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah police say a man burglarizing a home Sunday night attacked the residents when they discovered him, but the victims fought back and were able to knock out a few of the suspect’s teeth.

Detective Jeff Haney said Kathy Riddle and her 18-year-old son, Dustin Waddell, arrived at their home on West Avenue Sunday night and found 54-year-old Curtis Coleman in the process of unhooking their television and gaming console.

Coleman stood up and immediately began fighting with the residents. Riddle was able to use pepper spray on Coleman, but Coleman allegedly bit Waddell on the arm and smashed a picture over Waddell’s head.

Riddle then retrieved a knife and cut Coleman while trying to defend herself.

Haney said Coleman was able to take the knife from Riddle and cut her several times during the scuffle.

At some point, Waddell was knocked at least two of Coleman’s teeth out.

Coleman fled from the home, and Waddell was able to flag down Officer Tony Aguilar, who was driving down the street.

Haney said Aguilar went to the home and found Riddle covered in blood.

Other officers responded to the area and began searching for Coleman, who was considered a suspect in a number of city burglaries, Haney said.

Officers landed at a home in the 700 block of West Fox, a short distance from the scene of the burglary, and used a forward-looking infrared device – known as a FLIR – to find Coleman hiding in an attic.

“Officers were able to use the FLIR to see exactly where he was in the attic of the home, and used the FLIR to hold him at bay until they were able to safely take him into custody,” said Haney.

Officers also discovered a knife and other evidence at the residence.

Haney responded to collect DNA evidence, and said two of Coleman’s teeth were found at the home he allegedly burglarized.

Coleman was uncooperative with officers after his arrest. According to Haney, Coleman claims to be from Chicago and to be a member of a gang.

He was booked into jail for first-degree burglary and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Authorities in Tulsa County have also placed a hold on Coleman for outstanding warrants on a request to accelerate and revoke a suspended sentence.

Waddell and Riddle both sought treatment for their injuries at a local hospital, but Haney said their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

--jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com