Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd said the shooting is still under investigation.
MIAMI – The facts are still unclear about what exactly happened between two local co-workers when a Tuesday afternoon altercation in Miami resulted in Bonnie VanDerea, 40, being shot in the head by Michael “Mick” R. Hailey, 50, who apparently took his own life soon after.
VanDerea and Hailey worked together as EMS responders in Vinita.
At 3:13 p.m. on Jan. 23, law enforcement including the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office and Miami Police Department, converged on an apartment complex located at 2521 E Street SW in response to a call reporting a female that had possibly been shot.
According to Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd, upon arrival officers found VanDerea on the bottom level of the two-story apartment complex where she lived lying on the ground in a fetal position covered in blood. VanDerea told Floyd she had suffered a gunshot wound to the back of her head as a result of an altercation with Hailey in her apartment at 2521 E Street SW, south of Miami.
Floyd and other officers secured the apartment. Witnesses and VanDerea advised the officers of the location of the shooting but no one on the scene had seen Hailey flee
“He fled the scene prior to our arrival. We initially thought he was in the apartment because the witnesses at the apartment complex didn’t see anyone leave,” Floyd said. “Once we cleared the apartment we set up the perimeter and started searching.”
Law enforcement officers discovered Hailey had fled the scene, but his exact whereabouts were unknown for over two hours.
“We did find evidence inside the apartment that there was a physical altercation, the furniture was a mess and we found a small broken bat, blood, and a firearm,” Floyd said.
Investigators believe Hailey shot VanDerea with a .22-caliber revolver found in her apartment.
VanDerea was taken from the scene to a staged ambulance for medical treatment before being transported on to Mercy Hospital in Joplin.
Doctors later removed bullet fragments from VanDerea’s head and found she had suffered a concussion blow to the head and bruising to both hands that appeared to have been suffered while defending herself from blows with a blunt object, according to Floyd.
The fragments were sent for analysis, but no results are available yet for the testing.
Floyd said he spoke briefly with VanDerea while she was being treated in the ambulance, but he is waiting until her medical condition improves to interview her about the event.
“What she told me in the ambulance prior to her going to the hospital was they did have a fight,” Floyd said. “Neighbors basically validated that saying there was some arguing going on but they never heard a gun go off, but they did hear an argument.”
At this time it is not known if Hailey and VanDerea were in a relationship other than that of co-workers, according to Floyd.
Law enforcement officers and deputies from several law enforcement agencies, including air support from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, set up a perimeter Tuesday around the apartment complex and started combing the area in an attempt to locate and apprehend Hailey who was considered armed.
According to Floyd, at approximately 5:40 p.m. law enforcement found Hailey west of the initial shooting scene in a wooded field and he had died from an earlier apparent self-inflicted gunshot. Hailey was found approximately 300 yards west of the apartment complex with a 12-gauge shotgun next to his body.
Floyd said the shooting is still under investigation but he believes Hailey went out the back door and probably ran over to his house nearby, or may have had the shotgun with him.
“He did have a large collection of firearms in his home,” Floyd said.
VanDerea was admitted to Joplin Mercy in critical condition, but as of the last report from Floyd on Thursday VanDerea was upgraded to good condition and is expected to make a full recovery.
According to a family member, Hailey was suffering from PTSD.
Law enforcement and emergency responders from across Ottawa County assisted the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office including the Miami Police Department, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Quapaw Tribe EMS and Quapaw Tribal Marshals.
“There were several agencies involved, I want to thank all the personnel with EMS, Fire, and law enforcement that assisted the Ottawa County Sheriffs Office with the critical incident we were called to,” Floyd said. “It was a bad ending all the way around, it’s tough.”
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.