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Man arrested in ‘executions’ of 4 at Oklahoma pot farm

A law enforcement officer enters a residence on Monday that is on the property of the scene of a quadruple homicide near Lacey, Okla. (Bill Hefton/Enid News & Eagle) (Bill Hefton/Enid (Okla.) News & Eagle)
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A man investigators believe to be responsible for the execution-style killings of four people at an Oklahoma marijuana farm has been taken into custody in Florida, authorities said on Wednesday.

Chen Wu, 45, was nabbed by Miami Beach Police detectives Tuesday after a license plate reader flagged the car he was driving as wanted in connection to the quadruple homicide, the agency said in a statement. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said he is awaiting extradition to Oklahoma, where he will face murder and shooting with intent to kill charges.

The gruesome shootings, in which four Chinese nationals were killed and another was injured, are not thought to be random, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Authorities believe the suspect and victims knew one another.

“Don’t know if they’re related, don’t know if they were co-workers, but, certainly these individuals, or we believe, all familiar with each other,” State Bureau of Investigation Capt. Stan Florence told local television station KFOR.

Oklahoma voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018. The facility where the shootings took place had a license, but officials are still investigating whether it was obtained legally, the New York Times reported.

The violence unfolded just after sunset on Sunday, when the gunman entered a building at the farm in Kingfisher County, northwest of Oklahoma City, with several employees onsite. The perpetrator was inside for a significant amount of time before “the executions began,” the statement said.

Brooke Arbeitman, a bureau spokeswoman, said via text message: “These people were executed. Not randomly shot and killed.”

Authorities with the Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office were initially called about a hostage situation at the facility along North 2760 Road, west of Hennessey. When deputies arrived, they found it had turned deadly.

The victims include three men and one woman who were killed and a fifth person who was wounded and flown to a hospital. Officials have not identified them; as of Tuesday, their families had not been notified because of a “significant language barrier,” the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said.

The sheriff’s office requested assistance from the State Bureau of Investigation, and investigators spent Sunday and part of Monday going door-to-door and using helicopters and drones to search the 10-acre farm for suspects, KFOR reported.

The gunman was considered armed and dangerous. Authorities declined to release his name before his capture, concerned that doing so could put additional people in danger. Wu was apprehended just before 4 p.m. Central Tuesday and taken to a jail in Miami-Dade County.

“This was a quick response and had multiple facets to it,” Kingfisher County Sheriff Dennis Banther said late Tuesday, according to the Oklahoman. “I’m incredibly proud of being a part of an investigation where the suspect was not only identified, but arrested in less than 48 hours.”