According to official reports, on June 14, a hospital security guard reported a suspicious vehicle that had been prowling the medical center parking lot. Shortly before midnight, Officer Ratikan and his partner, Charlie Shelden, identified a car carrying 8 passengers matching the description of the suspect vehicle.
The officers stopped the vehicle just east of the Veteran’s Administration Hospital. As Ratikan questioned the driver, Raymond Fowler, he fled on foot. Ratikan pursued Fowler and caught him across the street. Fowler continued to resist. The two men wrestled on the ground. When Officer Shelden ran to assist Rankin in subduing Fowler, one of the other passengers, Jerry Lewis Fowler, (Raymond’s brother), drew a .25 caliber automatic pistol and fired several shots. One of the bullets struck Ratikan under one arm and tore through his aorta, killing him instantly.
Officer Shelden managed to restrain Fowler and returned fire as the suspects fled, striking one of the suspects in the leg. Jerry Lewis Fowler escaped but was arrested the next day in a South Oklahoma City housing project. Jerry Fowler was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment on September 30, 1971.
Michael Ratikan honorably served in the Air Force before joining the Oklahoma City Police Department on January 31, 1968. Of his six brothers, three of them joined the New York City Police Department.
He was survived by his loving wife who has since died and two children. The loss of their husband and father has been a tremendous blow to Ratikan’s family. Officer Ratikan’s son, Michael Jr., is adamant that Fowler remain in prison. He stated: “My father, Officer Michael J. Ratikan, was killed by Jerry L. Fowler, a man who, unlike my father, has since been able to enjoy living and breathing!
My mother died of a broken heart. I still to this day carry deep depression from losing my father! Please tell this man to be happy with what he’s got because he has way more than my father ever could have! My father deserves Justice! He died for it!”
A sample letter is provided below. Letters should be addressed to:
Oklahoma State Division of Pardons and Parole
Attention: Terry Jenks
Administrative Offices, Suite 900-W
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Dear Terry Jenks:
I ask that you DENY PAROLE to Jerry Fowler, inmate #83268. This inmate’s violent murder of Oklahoma City Police Officer Michael Ratikan in 1971 should preclude any consideration for parole.
Officer Ratikan was devoted to helping people and saving lives.
Violence against law enforcement officers is on the rise and many officers have lost their lives to parolees. Inmates who have taken the life of an officer should be subject to serve their full sentence, without any possibility of parole.
Inmate #83268 has already been denied parole in the past, and it is imperative that parole continue to be denied. He is a cold blooded killer who poses a clear danger to the citizens of Oklahoma.
As a concerned citizen, and in the interest of public safety, I am asking that you DENY PAROLE to inmate #83268. Justice demands that he be made to spend every day of his life in prison.
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