A 16-year-old Oklahoma City student claims he was only joking about robbing the $2.9 billion Tinker Federal Credit Union branch in John Marshall High School.
But the Oklahoma City Police Department said the attempted robbery of the in-school branch by Rayqwonn Deion Chatman of Oklahoma City was not a joke, and he is being charged as an adult with attempted robbery by force or fear, Capt. Dexter Nelson, chief spokesperson for the Oklahoma City Police Department, said Wednesday.
The incident occurred Jan. 18 when Chatman walked up to the counter in the Tinker FCU branch with his hands inside the pockets of his hoodie. He raised his right hand up that gave the appearance of a gun in his right pocket and said: “Give me some money,” to a Tinker FCU teller, according to the police report.
The teller, who was assisting two other student tellers, told Chatman he could be in a lot of trouble for this action, and one of the students attempted to get Chatman to leave the branch, the police report said.
But the 6-foot, 170-pound Chatman refused and stood in front of the teller for about 30 seconds before he finally left the branch without any money, police said after reviewing the security camera footage.
The teller told police she did not think Chatman had a gun but that she wasn’t sure. It turned out he did not have a gun and, without incident, police took Chatman into custody in the school’s gymnasium. He was being held in the Oklahoma County Jail.
In Oklahoma, juveniles are identified when they are charged with a felony.
“He’s claiming that this was a practical joke,” said Nelson, the police captain. “But at no time did he ever pull out his hand to show that he didn’t have a gun. In the follow-up reports, the witnesses said they thought it was a joke at first, too, but then they state they didn’t know because he became very aggressive and very forceful in demanding money and pointing his so-called gun. He left the bank with them (witnesses) believing he possibly had something in his pocket.”
Last year, a seventh-grade student walked into the school’s Tinker FCU branch and joked about robbing it. But a police investigation determined the student was joking and no charges were filed, according to Oklahoma City Police and an official at Oklahoma City Public Schools.
“He was laughing the whole time and did not allude to the fact that he had a gun,” Nelson said.
Tierney Tinnin, media services director for the Oklahoma City Public Schools, said there is a sign at the school branch that reads: “Any student who insinuates or pretends to hold up the TFCU branch will be arrested and prosecuted.”
“The school held meetings with students shortly after the incident … and we will continue to work with students and TFCU officials on educating students of the consequences of such actions,” Tinnin said of Chatman's arrest.
Oklahoma City Public Schools said in a statement that it has a successful and effective partnership with Tinker FCU in the development and operation of the John Marshall High School in-school branch.
“It is our hope that this incident will not overshadow the important and relevant education lessons the students are learning thanks to the in-school branch,” the statement said.