In Oklahoma, police can't take guns unless arrest is made
Humberto Diaz had threatened Rebecca "Becca" Diaz-Martinez with a gun at least once before police say he ended her life with two gunshots to the head and face at their southeast Oklahoma City home in November 2015.
After a night of arguing in January 2015, Diaz loaded a magazine into a handgun, racked the slide and "told everyone to get out of his house," according to a police report.
Diaz-Martinez's mother was at the home that night and called police, but no arrest was made. The couple voluntarily agreed to let the police remove five guns from the home.
Officers took two Smith & Wesson handguns and three rifles and stored them at the Oklahoma City Police Department's property room until February 2015, when Diaz-Martinez retrieved them after contacting the Oklahoma City attorney's office.
"The victim of the homicide picked up the weapons herself," said police spokesman Travis Vernier.
In Oklahoma, police cannot seize weapons on a domestic violence call unless an arrest is made. Police can only ask the parties involved to voluntarily give up their guns for temporary safekeeping.
Police do a background check on the person who retrieves the weapons, but as long as there are no criminal charges or protective orders filed against the person, the individual is typically free to get the weapons back, Vernier said.
"In that situation, we are not going to be able to hold onto the weapons," Vernier said. "The person has constitutional rights under the Second and Fourth amendments."
- Related to this story
- Article: Oklahoma's protective orders do little to protect abuse victims from guns
Diaz was discharged from the Air Force after testing positive for drugs in August 2015, according to records from his divorce. He also attended a weeklong, inpatient drug treatment program at Integris Baptist Medical Center.
On Nov. 9, 2015, police say, Diaz pulled a gun on Diaz-Martinez again after a heated argument where they ended up fighting on the roof of the two-story home they shared in a semi-rural part of southeast Oklahoma City. This time, police say, Diaz shot Diaz-Martinez once in the side of the head and once in her face, killing her. She was 26.
"I thought she was going for a gun so I shot her," Humberto Diaz told police after the shooting, sitting in the back of a squad car, according to a police affidavit.
Diaz, 32, is currently being held at the Oklahoma County Detention Center, awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder in the death.
Before she became involved with Diaz, friends remember Diaz-Martinez as a good mother and a generous friend. She loved country music and horses and was a fan of the Michigan State football team.
"She was just an awesome person in general," said childhood friend Rachel Bennett, who grew up with her in Michigan. "She had a huge heart. She went out of her way to help anybody."
Diaz-Martinez's relationship with Diaz was tumultuous, exacerbated by substance abuse, according to friends, as well as police and court records.
"She was just so in love with him. If she had one good day with him, it counteracted the 50 bad days she had with him," Bennett said.
Friends of Diaz-Martinez say Diaz's verbal and physical abuse grew worse as his drug problem progressed. He grew paranoid and accused Diaz-Martinez of cheating on him and of trying to poison him.
Before Diaz-Martinez's death, Diaz told a friend he would "end up killing his wife," according to a police affidavit.
In the days leading up to the shooting, Diaz-Martinez had also told a friend that Diaz had choked her, according to the affidavit.
"I believe there is a lot we don't know because Becca never wanted anyone to really think bad of Humberto and she protected him no matter what," said Diaz-Martinez's friend Melissa Masters. "She told me he would tell her she was ugly, no one would ever want her, he wishes he never had a kid with her, he hated her and he never loved her, but she still stuck it out."
Diaz-Martinez had three children and was married to another man when she first met Diaz in August 2013. She was celebrating her 24th birthday with friends at an IHOP restaurant near Tinker Air Force Base.
Her first husband was stationed at a U.S. Naval outpost at Tinker. Diaz was also stationed at Tinker with the U.S. Air Force and had recently separated from his first wife.
"From that night forward, they were inseparable and Humberto soon became very possessive and wanted her to cut everyone out of her life," Masters said.
Within six months of the birthday celebration at IHOP, Diaz-Martinez's first husband filed for divorce. She had a fourth child with Diaz and married him in December 2014.
Court records from Diaz's divorce claimed he and Diaz-Martinez became addicted to meth and that Diaz-Martinez's four children were removed from the home she shared with Humberto Diaz after allegations of physical abuse and drug use.
In a text message exchange with his first wife two months before the shooting, Diaz claimed DHS removed the four children from the home over false accusations of abuse.
"It's a very (expletive) process," Diaz wrote. "There has been no police calls of me hitting her or the kids, but they insist I'm a danger to them."
Diaz-Martinez was trying to regain custody of her children before her death, Masters said.
"Becca tried to see her kids every day and worked as much as she could to do what DHS wanted to get her kids back, through all of this she fought with everything she had and loved with her whole heart — that's just who she was," Masters said.
Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›