Robert "Robby" McMurtry died Wednesday after he was shot at his home in Morris, just after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1. McMurtry was a former Stephens County resident who was also a successful graphics illustrator and artist with many awards to his credit.
According to the OSBI, deputies from the Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office have requested an investigation into the shooting which involved a police officer. OSBI Public Information Officer Jessica Brown said in a release that deputies responded to a call of a suicidal individual and when they arrived, McMurtry appeared distraught and was holding a machete, then approached them with the weapon. One deputy shot and killed McMurtry.
On Thursday, officials released the names of the deputies, Michael Stacy and Smokey Patchin, who have been placed on routine administrative leave while the investigation continues.
McMurtry was a former Stephens County resident and Velma graduate who held close to his hometown area by teaching art workshops to youth at Chisholm Trail Heritage Center and at the Arts Explosion summer camp sponsored by Chisholm Trail Arts Council. He taught for three years with the AE program and delighted in the reaction of the youth when he would show them easy tips for creating characters with a pencil or charcoals.
It went back to his childhood, he said, when he would watch his father, Bob McMurtry, draw.
In a Banner edition from September 2011, McMurtry said that he looked forward to Saturday mail, “That’s when The Duncan Banner’s Sunday paper would arrive and I loved the comics. I can’t remember being interested in anything but comics.”
Most recently, McMurtry was honored in May with a Redbud Award, for an exhibit that was displayed at CTHC in September 2011. The Oklahoma Travel Industry Association gave him the award for Outstanding Temporary Exhibit, which according to Museum Coordinator Cova Williams, cost the museum less than $400 to feature.
He also conducted classes for youth through the arts education program at the facility. Williams, also a good friend of McMurtry’s, encouraged him to do a book about Jesse Chisholm. He said in September it was much more work then he anticipated. He always joked about his career as a writer, saying at his exhibit, “I flunked out as an art major in college. I got my degree in English.”
In May, after the Redbud Award was presented, Williams bragged about his good hearted ways and that he had a great personality. She specifically pointed out that he was always willing to help with events, including the annual Western Spirit Celebration.
The graphic illustrated novel, “The Road to Medicine Lodge,” was featured in the CTHC exhibit. McMurtry was a Comanche descendant and his work was also featured internationally and he worked for the Creek Nation as a Cultural Coordinator.
OSBI will conduct an investigation and submit a report to the district attorney of Okmulgee County, who will decide if the shooting was justified.
The Duncan Banner has not received any information regarding funeral or memorial services for Mr. McMurtry.