Friends of the three teenagers who were fatally shot during a break-in at a Wagoner County home on Monday are stumped by a question that seems to have no answer.
What compelled Maxwell Cook, Jacob Redfearn and Jaykob Woodruff to force their way into the home of Zach Peters, who met them in the kitchen with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle?
“It doesn’t even seem real,” said 19-year-old Torrie Collins, a close friend of the three. “Even now, it still does not seem real. I feel like I could still go over to their house and walk in and see everybody sitting on the couch.”
Most nights, Collins could be found hanging out at the house where Cook and Redfearn, both 18, lived together in Collinsville, along with Cook’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Rodriguez. Woodruff, 15, of Owasso, also spent a lot of time there.
Collins described these hangout sessions as a “good time” filled with music. Cook would always be playing the acoustic guitar, while Redfearn stuck with the keyboard and Woodruff loved to rap.
“We never left the house because it was just fun being there with everybody,” he said.
Collins saw them at the house Sunday morning and exchanged texts with them that evening. Half a day later, his friends were dead and Rodriguez, 21, was in jail on murder accusations.
The news of what happened didn’t make sense to him. He said he knew the three to be caring and compassionate, and he had not heard of them getting into trouble with law enforcement in the past.
“They just made a bad judgment call, and they ended up dying because of it,” he said.
Details of the incident
Peters called 911 and said he had just shot two men who broke into his house in the 9100 block of Clearview Drive, just east of Broken Arrow, around 12:30 p.m. Monday. He apparently didn’t know at that time that he’d also hit the third intruder, who had run outside. Wagoner County deputies who responded found one person dead in the driveway and two more dead in the kitchen.
Authorities say Rodriguez planned a burglary of the home and dropped off Cook, Redfearn and Woodruff to carry it out while she waited in her vehicle. The teenagers, wearing black clothing, gloves and masks, broke a glass door to get into the house.
Peters, the son of the homeowner, told deputies he heard the commotion while sleeping and grabbed his rifle. He opened fire after seeing the intruders, striking all three. One of them made his way back outside and apparently tried to get back into Rodriguez’s vehicle, but deputies think she fled at that point and left him in the driveway. Deputies found a knife and brass knuckles on the other two.
Rodriguez later turned herself in at the Broken Arrow Police Department, telling officers she had information about the burglary. She was booked into the Wagoner County Jail on three complaints of first-degree felony murder and three complaints of first-degree burglary.
Although she didn’t fire the fatal shots, Rodriguez faces the murder accusations because they happened while she was “in commission of a felony,” Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Nick Mahoney said.
Authorities are investigating the triple homicide as an act of self-defense, and Peters could be protected by the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Rodriguez appeared to have previous knowledge of the house and knew the homeowner by name. She waived her right to an attorney and reportedly told investigators on Wednesday that she did not know Peters but was aware of his father, who owned the house where he lived.
Rodriguez also said she knew that the Peters family had money and expensive belongings, which led her to select their home to burglarize, Mahoney said.
Investigators determined that Rodriguez and her three accomplices had broken into a spare room in the home earlier in the day and then returned later to search the rest of the house, Mahoney said.
Another woman has since contacted the Sheriff’s Office with information regarding the deadly home intrusion.
“Investigators have made contact with her and are currently in the process of talking with her,” Mahoney said.
Specific details about what she knows about the case were not revealed, but Mahoney said investigators are “taking her seriously.” Her name is not being released at this time.
“She is a witness, not a suspect,” he clarified.
Friends in disbelief
Collins said he doesn’t believe that his friends ever set out to hurt anyone. He speculates that they executed their plan during mid-day because they thought nobody would be home.
Like Collins, 17-year-old Kelsi Denise was in shock when someone told her that Woodruff, one of her best friends since the two met in the sixth grade, had been killed in a home invasion.
“This whole situation doesn’t seem like something Jake would do,” Denise said. “It wasn’t like him to ever hurt anybody, not even an animal. He was so kind.”
Since then, Denise has taken to social media to talk about her friendship with Woodruff and defend his character — a move that has drawn a lot of ire from strangers.
“I’m getting blasted on Facebook for sticking up for my friend and grieving over my friend’s death when I know he’s not like that,” she said. “If they don’t know him, they don’t deserve to talk down on him.”
Chelsea Grogan, who is dating Redfearn’s brother, said his family has been desperate for answers since the shootings. She said Redfearn always encouraged his brothers to succeed and avoid trouble.
That’s why the events leading to his death came as such a surprise.
“I honestly didn’t believe it,” Grogan said. “I thought maybe they got the wrong name, but when I heard about Max and Jake, they were just really good friends, so it makes sense they would all be together. But I just don’t see why he would do something like that. Nobody understands why.”
Grogan said she questions the current narrative provided by authorities.
“It just blows my mind because I feel like there’s something missing, like someone knows something that wasn’t told,” she said. “I feel like there’s a lie, and nobody has found it out yet.”
Owasso Public Schools, where Woodruff and Cook had recently attended, offered special counseling to students Tuesday. Between 40 and 50 students took advantage of it, Assistant Superintendent Amy Fitchner said.
Cook, a senior, withdrew from the high school over a month ago, Fitchner said. Woodruff, a freshman, moved to Tulsa and wasn’t currently attending school.
Redfearn was last enrolled at Collinsville High School in the fall, Superintendent Lance West said.
West did not know where he was enrolled this semester.
The Tulsa World has attempted to contact Peters for comment.
Authorities have provided disparate ages and name spellings for the deceased throughout the week. The ages and names in this article have been independently verified through records and acquaintances.