The search for a man believed to have killed two people Monday morning ended with a single gunshot.

Police said 24-year-old B.J. Srader apparently shot himself while hiding in a cellular telephone tower building near Seven Devils Road and state Highway 31.

Srader is believed to have shot himself after members of the McAlester Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics team fired tear gas into the building. SWAT members had been called out at about 11 p.m. when a deputy checking on an alarm at the cell tower building believed Srader might be hiding inside.

Srader opened the door to the building shortly after SWAT members fired tear gas inside and team members said they hoped he was going to surrender. Instead, Srader shut the door again and officers heard a single gunshot.

No officers fired during the standoff, which lasted until about 1 this morning, according to officials.

Srader is believed to have killed 27-year-old Roger Martin Jr. and 19-year-old Melissa Phillips. They were found on the front porch of Martin’s North Shannon Road home at about 4:45 a.m. Monday.

Martin and Phillips had been shot with a high-powered rifle, similar to and possibly the same one recovered from the cellular tower building.

Police believe Srader drove a van to a field off of state Highway 31, then climbed a fence and walked to the area from which he fired the shots that killed Martin and Phillips. After the shooting, he went back to the van but abandoned it when it got stuck in the mud, according to Undersheriff Richard Sexton.

“Tracking dogs (from Jackie Brannon Correctional Center) found a trail leading from the van and another leading back,” Sexton said.

The search for Srader led police to various places in the county before he was located. Officers converged shortly after 7 a.m. Monday on an East McAlester home in which Srader had been living, but to no avail. Krebs officers staked out his mother’s home on Northwest Maple Street and, when they thought they heard movement inside, called for assistance.

“We wanted to make sure no one was there,” said Krebs Police Chief Dennis Cook. “We had information he lived there at one time but hadn’t stayed there in a while.”

Officers took up positions on Northwest Maple and on Church streets before the SWAT team members went into the home at 11:05 a.m. Monday. Some people attempted to drive through the area, or to park too close to the scene, prompting Krebs firefighters Kenneth Hayes and Lee Wilcox to put traffic cones in the area, basically closing the block from Fillmore Avenue to Main Street.

“I’m hoping nothing happens,” Krebs resident Bill Gibson said as the SWAT team began searching the house. “My mother lives near there. I just told her to get in a back room and keep low until all this is over.”

No one was in the home. A sound officers reported, which kept nerves on edge until the house was completely searched and found to be empty, was the sound of an electric motor turning on and off, officials said.

The search continued throughout the day, with officers chasing down various leads. Shortly before dark, Sexton said officials had requested a helicopter equipped with a Forward Looking Infrared Radar system to help in the search. The search was called off for the day at about 10 p.m., Sexton said. “Everybody’s just wearing out and it’s getting too dark to see anything. We’ll pick it up first thing in the morning if we don’t find him tonight.”

A tripped alarm ended the long search.

“Roger and B.J. and I were all pretty close friends,” Pittsburg County resident John Allen said. “This is something you never dream would happen.”

Allen said Srader had worked as a plumber for a while before suffering a hernia and “hadn’t worked a day I know of since.” Martin worked in oilfield services before an accident left him disabled and he’d used a portion of the disability settlement as a down payment on the house at which he’d been killed.

Srader and Phillips had had a relationship, which she broke off, according to Allen. “He treated her bad, but he didn’t realize what he had until she left him,” Allen said. “I guess B.J. saw his life crumbling around his eyes and he just kind of lost it.

“It’s terrible.”

Contact Doug Russell at drussell@mcalesternews.com.

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