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Evangelist Billy Graham Dead at 99

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Latest from Michael Purdy

    A man wearing a gray hoodie and a bandana robbed a Tulsa convenience store Tuesday night. The suspect walked into the Corner Check Out store around 9:27 p.m. near West Newton and North Nogales Ave. and he was armed with a gun. A police supervisor tells us the man immediately demanded and was given an undisclosed amount of cash.  Investigators do have a good description of the suspect.  'The suspect was described as a B/M, 508-510, 150-175 lbs, armed with a handgun, and was wearing a gray hoodie and bandana,' police said in a report. ' Investigators add the suspect left the scene in a green car.  Anyone with information regarding the armed robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.
  • A 32-year-old man really didn't want a fire-damaged residence on North Norfolk to be demolished yesterday. So much so, Christopher Gilbert reportedly grabbed a gun and threatened multiple workers. Witnesses at the scene backed up what one worker claimed.  In an arrest and booking report, the Tulsa Sheriff's Office reports the situation only got worse once deputies arrived. 'Christopher attempted to leave the area on a bicycle and at that time, Deputy (redacted) deployed pepper balls,' a deputy said.  Once in custody, deputies recovered three pellet guns. Gilbert admitted he used one of the guns to point at the demolition workers.  He's a convicted felon, so it's a no, no to possess the pellet guns.  [Information from arrest and booking report]
  • A 22-year-old man faces a long list of charges after taking officers on a pursuit this week with an unwilling passenger. In an arrest and booking report, Sand Springs police say an officer spotted John Cress revving his vehicle in a private lot and it turned out the car had been reported as stolen. When the officer attempted to stop Cress, the pursuit began. He ended up crashing into a tree, but then tried his luck on foot. “Cress also left his wallet/ID/phone in the driver floorboard of the vehicle,” police said.  Eventually, he was found hiding and was taken into custody. His juvenile passenger reportedly had no idea the car was stolen and kept asking Cress to stop throughout the chase.  A count of kidnapping was added to Cress’ booking charges.    [Information from arrest and booking report]
  • KRMG told you over the weekend about a man who gave a young child a note at the downtown library. The note read, 'Come with me to the bathroom and if you behave and keep it a secret and don’t tell anyone I promise I will give you a dollar. Please keep this between me and you. I will be waiting over by the window behind you.” Now we're hearing from the child's mother, Emily Turner.  She is proud of her son for immediately giving her the note. 'A million things go through your head,' Turner said. 'Fear and anger. I just had all the adrenaline going.' Turner informed the librarian, who got security right away. Officers found and arrested Darius Burch outside of the library. After being taken into custody, Burch admitted he planned on molesting the boy. He also reportedly stated he couldn't control his compulsions. Turner urges parents to speak with their children about potential dangers they could encounter, so they’re prepared. 
  • KRMG told you about a recent homicide at a house near Pine and Sheridan.  Tulsa officers returned to the home overnight, but not to investigate the homicide.  Instead, shots were fired at the home.  Police at the scene tell us nobody was hurt.  However, the house was hit several times.  The suspected killer in the homicide, Jose Ibarra-Pelligrin,, has not been caught.  Police are looking into whether the two cases are connected.  Anyone with information regarding the incident overnight is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.
  • A burglar got away after allegedly firing a shot early Tuesday morning.  The scene happened around 3:30 a.m. near 41st and Mingo.  Tulsa police at the scene say the car burglar was caught red-handed by the owner of the vehicle.  During this time, the suspect fired a shot.  Investigators don’t know if the burglar was aiming at the car owner.  They do know no bullet holes or casing have been found.  Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.
  • KRMG has learned someone smashed a glass church door over the weekend with a Saint Mary statue. The scene happened at the Saint Augustine Catholic Church on Sunday morning near Apache and Lewis. The pastor tells us he's more sad, than mad. 'It's so sad to see somebody do this to the house of the Lord,' the pastor said.  Nothing was actually stolen from the church. Services went on as normal and KRMG's told the congregation prayed for the vandals. Anybody with information regarding the vandalism is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.
  • We're learning more about a 50-year-old woman firing a shot up in the air outside a south Tulsa movie theater Sunday night. Mary Hill told officers she fired the shot to help disperse a bunch of people fighting in the parking lot of the Cinemark near 71st and Highway 169. Parents we spoke to say Hill could have easily hurt someone, like a child. 'I wouldn't want my kids around somebody shooting a gun up in the air for any reason, ever,' one mother said.  Making matters even worse, she doesn't have a license to carry.  Hill has bonded out of the Tulsa County Jail. She faces multiple counts including reckless handling of a firearm and shoot firearms in public.
  • We now know the cause of a house fire in Claremore on Monday. The blaze started in a residence near 13th and Dorothy. Investigators tell us the family's youngest son accidentally started the fire by knocking a lamp over, which then ignited a couch. The father tells us the boy also helped save the family by immediately warning everybody. 'The youngest son came in the bedroom saying there was a spider,' the father said. 'I guess he was saying fire.' Smoke detectors also alerted the two adults and three children inside the home to the fire. They all made it out of the house safely.  The family lost almost everything in the fire.
  • You might know Teresa Danks as the panhandling teacher here in Tulsa. Educators around the state think of her as the woman trying to get them better wages. Danks has started a petition titled “Mary Fallin: Oklahoma Teacher Walkout?” in a last ditch effort to get the governor to do something. If this doesn't work, Danks is talking about a possible walkout. 'They can't replace us,' Danks said. 'They don't have enough people to replace us. If we come together as a collective group, we have more power.' The petition already has more than 3,000 signatures.  A legislative move called Step up, failed last week. The plan would have given teachers a $5,000 raise.
  • Michael Purdy

    Michael.Purdy@coxinc.com

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  • Evangelist Billy Grahamat his North Carolina home. Graham, who preached Christianity to millions around the world, was also a confidant of U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush.Here are some quotes from the man who became known as “America’s Pastor.”   Source: Brainy Quotes
  • The world's best-known evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, has died. He was 99. From the gangly 16-year-old baseball-loving teen who found Christ at a tent revival, Graham went on to become an international media darling, a preacher to a dozen presidents and the voice of solace in times of national heartbreak. He was America's pastor.           Graham retired to his mountain home at Montreat, N.C., in 2005 after nearly six decades on the road calling people to Christ at 417 all-out preaching and musical events from Miami to Moscow. His final New York City crusade in 2005 was sponsored by 1,400 regional churches from 82 denominations.          Presidents called on Graham in their dark hours, and uncounted millions say he showed them the light. He took his Bible to the ends of the Earth in preaching tours he called 'crusades.' Even now, anywhere a satellite, radio, TV, video or podcast can reach, his sonorous voice is probably still calling someone to Christ.          Though Graham's shoes could likely never be filled, his son, Franklin, has taken over in some aspects—leading The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and becoming a confidant of President Donald Trump, including speaking at his inauguration.          But Franklin's message has swayed from his father's, leaving a mixed legacy for the Graham name. Franklin has mocked both Islam and LGBT rights. He uses his following on social media to raise funds for 'persecuted Christians,' boycotts businesses that use gay couples in advertisements and blasts the separation of church and state as as the godless successor to Cold War communism.          But his father's words for years offered peace and perspective. On the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance following the 9/11 attacks, Billy Graham spoke of the 'mystery of iniquity and evil,' of 'the lesson of our need for each other' and, ultimately, of hope.          'He was so real, he made Christianity come true.' observed Susan Harding, an anthropologist at the University of California-Santa Cruz. 'He was homespun, historical and newsworthy all at once. He could span the times from Christ to today, from the globe to you, all in one sentence.'          Grant Wacker, a Duke University professor of Christian history, says Graham represented, 'what most decent churchgoing people thought and ought to think.'          His reputation was untouched by sex or financial scandals. When anti-Semitic comments came to light as transcripts of conversations with Richard Nixon surfaced, Graham was promptly and deeply apologetic.          He never built a megachurch, set up a relief agency, launched a political lobby or ran for office. Yet he redefined American Protestant life by popularizing Christianity's core message — Christ died for your sins — downplaying denominational details and proclaiming the joys found in faith.          Graham was, however, drawn to power. Eventually, he met, prayed with, comforted and joked with 12 U.S. presidents, and Graham learned to walk a tightrope.          He found a fine balance that allowed him to become America's pastor, Democrat or Republican. North or South. When President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky came to light, Graham called for forgiveness. Clinton told Peter Boyer of The New Yorker, 'He took sin seriously. But he took redemption seriously. And it was incredibly powerful the way he did it.'          Former president George W. Bush has said it was a conversation with Graham that turned him from his drinking ways when he was young.          'I've never called him on a specific issue but his influence is bigger than a specific issue, as far as I'm concerned. He warms your soul,' Bush told an ABC 20/20 special on the preacher and politics.          Graham emphasized the joy to be found in belief, in contrast to evangelists such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who routinely issued glowering condemnations of politicians or blamed natural disasters on modern culture. However, Graham did take an uncharacteristically political stand before the 2012 presidential election. He authorized full page ads in major newspapers in October urging people to vote for politicians who opposed same-sex marriage on 'biblical principles.'          He brought to the microphone a 'corny but effective humor,' Wacker says, which made him a convivial talk-show guest. Graham logged more than 50 radio or television interviews with Larry King alone. YouTube has a tape of Woody Allen interviewing the evangelist, who draws almost as many laughs as the caustic, agnostic comedian.          The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association he founded, now led by his son, Franklin, used every communications innovation possible to carry the Gospel to any willing heart on Earth. More than 214 million people in 195 cities and territories heard God's call in Graham's voice and witnessed him deliver the Gospel in person or by satellite links. His projects included founding             Christianity Today magazine in 1956 and writing more than 30 books.          High among his numerous honors: The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Billy and Ruth in 1996, the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to him in 1983, and the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion in 1982. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.          'Fundamentalists saw him as excessively liberal, and liberals saw him as too literalist in talking about sin and salvation. His wonderful balance between them is critical to his legacy,' says John Wilson, editor of             Books & Culture, a sister publication of             Christianity Today magazine            .  Graham's last decades were slowed by illness and injury. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1989, felled by broken bones, bouts of hydrocephalous and rounds of pneumonia.          Age, illness and bone-breaking falls had left him struggling to deliver 20-minute sermons.   Graham's last crusade, in June 2005 in New York City, drew 242,000 people to Flushing Meadows; 8,786 made a new commitment to Christ and thousands more renewed or rejoiced in their faith.          Then he retired to his Montreat, N.C., mountaintop log cabin home (where his five children grew up mostly without their traveling father) to spend his days with his beloved wife, Ruth. They shared Bible study, devotions and an endless recycling of the movie musicals she loved to watch. Those were bittersweet days, with Ruth bedridden and Billy relying on a walker. Their frequent prayer was, 'Help me, Lord.'          At her funeral in June 2007, Graham called Ruth the finest Christian he ever knew. Graham lived through the explosion of religious diversity in America, the rise of the human potential movement and the trend to personalized spirituality. He also lived to see many tire of lonely seeking or a high-minded hopscotch from church to church, religion to religion.          Yet he remained steadfast in his response. In 1996, when he and Ruth were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, he once more shared his faith in God with some of the most powerful men on Earth:          'As Ruth and I receive this award, we know that some day we will lay it at the feet of the one we seek to serve.
  • The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. Spokesman Mark DeMoss says Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday morning. He was 99. Graham reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio. Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society.
  • was ready for a secret meeting with North Korean officials at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, earlier this month, but the North backed out, according to news outlets. >> Read more trending news Pence attended the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 as part of a five-day trip to Asia and was seated near Kim Jong-un’s sister, but did not speak to her, creating a media sensation. The North canceled the meeting just two hours before Pence was scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and another North Korean state official, Kim Yong Nam, on Feb. 10 after Pence announced new sanctions against the North Korean regime during his trip and rebuked it for its nuclear program, according to the Washington Post, which was the first to report on the secret meeting. “North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said in a statement, according to The Hill. >> Related: NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony News of the secret meeting comes as relations between the communist north and democratic south seem to be thawing in recent weeks with the announcement last month from Kim Jong-un that he was sending a delegation to the Olympics. He sent his sister to lead the group. “We regret [the North Koreans'] failure to seize this opportunity,' State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. 'We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American’s unjust death.' >> Related: Olympic gold medalist, skater Meagan Duhamel, uses platform to spotlight dog meat trade Pence said he planned to use his trip to the Olympics to prevent North Korea from using the games as a ploy for favorable propaganda on the communist regime.
  • As state capitals go, Oklahoma does pretty well. So say the ranking wizards at WalletHub, which looked at such factors as affordability, economic well-being, quality of education and health, and quality of life. OKC did best in affordability, ranked at number 2 in the whole nation, and was around average, give or take, in economic well-being and quality of life, for an overall ranking of 14 out of 50. Not too shabby. Oklahoma City does struggle a bit in education and health, ranked at 36. The top 3 capitals were Austin, Texas; Madison, Wisconsin; and Boise, Idaho. Bottom 3 were Jackson, Mississippi; Hartford, Connecticut; and Trenton, New Jersey. You can see the full list from WalletHub here.