Governor addresses recent shootings at Tulsa Tough while community continues to heal

TULSA, Okla. — As cyclists hit the streets for the second day of the 2022 Saint Francis Tulsa Tough, racers -- including Governor Kevin Stitt -- used it as a tool to help the community heal.

Stephen Weeks wouldn’t call himself an avid cyclist by any stretch.

“I bought this expensive bike so I have to use it,” Weeks said

But he would never miss Tulsa Tough.

“This event, there is so much energy here, so much fun,” Weeks said. “It’s crazy just to be a part of it.”

The crowd of thousands of cyclists that hit the streets Saturday morning even included the governor.

“No matter how good or how fast you are, it’s just fun being out with all your friends,” said Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Oklahoma).

Governor Stitt wore pink as he hit the pavement for the nearly 45 mile bike ride around Tulsa.

“This was the Saint Francis bib from a couple years ago,” Governor Stitt said.

Saint Francis – the title sponsor of the race –was top of mind for riders Saturday morning. Four people were killed in a mass shooting on the hospital’s campus last week.

“We’re mourning with those that were lost,” Governor Stitt said. “Really it’s one degree separated. Some of my friends knew the people.”

“My ex-wife actually works at Saint Francis,” Weeks said. “She was almost walking in the same area, but decided not to that day.”

Two of the victims killed at Saint Francis were laid to rest Saturday. So was Sherika Bowler, the woman killed in the mass shooting at the town of Taft’s Memorial Day Festival last week.

“We were all heartbroken, we stand with that community too,” Stitt said.

Governor Stitt says in the coming weeks, he plans to meet with leaders across the state to make sure law enforcement continues to get proper training and resources to respond to incidents like our community has experienced. He also plans to talk with school leaders about safety and security needs in light of last month’s deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

“We have to make sure our citizens are safe,” Stitt said.

But Saturday’s race was about healing. And about reaching new heights in spite of everything weighing us down.

“I’m looking to finish so the girl who put me up to this is proud,” Weeks said.





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