The Bixby Police Department officer who shot and killed a Bixby teenager in July following a dispute at a home there has been cleared by the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office, according to a lawyer for the teenager’s family.
Logan Simpson, 16, was driving a vehicle that belonged to his parents at the time he was shot, Kevin Adams said. Adams, the family’s attorney, filed a lawsuit in September that alleged Simpson was shot unlawfully by a Bixby officer who mistakenly believed the teenager had stolen the vehicle.
Neither the City of Bixby nor the Bixby Police Department have commented on the case, but Adams identified the officer involved in the shooting as Jon Little.
Simpson’s family has said the teen was attacked by a person named Deante Strickland, who then attacked Simpson’s older brother with an ax. Police were called, but before they arrived Logan Simpson drove away from the home in the family vehicle.
Unsure who took the vehicle, Simpson’s family asked Strickland, who they said replied “My homeboy.” The family then told police the vehicle had been stolen. The lawsuit states the family discovered it was Simpson who had taken the vehicle and told officers at the scene who “did nothing to cancel the stolen vehicle call that went out over the radio.”
Little, the lawsuit claims, spotted the vehicle and cornered Simpson on a dead end road.
Simpson reached the end of the road and turned around, driving in the direction of the officer who had exited his vehicle.
The lawsuit alleges that Little “opened fire” into the driver’s side door of the vehicle and then continued firing as Simpson drove past.
“Not only did Little shoot Logan Simpson through the driver’s side door, he continued to shoot at the vehicle as it drove away,” the lawsuit states”Officer Little even fired multiple rounds into the rear of the vehicle.”
Adams said during a press conference in July that he believed the officer who shot Simpson should be charged with a crime and said he was hopeful that the district attorney would eventually agree, noting Kunzweiler had charged other officers with crimes for on-duty shootings in the past.
“The bottom line is that Logan’s mother called for help, and help killed her son,” Adams said during the press conference.
First Assistant Tulsa County District Attorney Erik Grayless released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon.
“On October 23, 2018, the District Attorney’s Office completed its review of the use of deadly force by Officer Jon Little of the Bixby Police Department. Officer Little shot and killed Logan Simpson during a police pursuit after Mr. Simpson drove his vehicle towards Officer Little. After a thorough review of reports provided by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which included a dash camera video, photographs, interviews, a Medical Examiner’s report, among other investigatory items, no criminal charges against Officer Little are warranted. The use of deadly force was justified,” Grayless wrote.
Adams has said he believes the teenager was trying to merely evade the officer rather than strike him with the vehicle, and said that tire track left in a yard near where the shooting happened support that narrative.
In dashboard camera video released by Bixby police, Simpson’s vehicle can be seen fleeing from the officer down a two-lane street, then swerves to the right into a nearby yard. The vehicle stops, then backs up as the Little stands behind a parked pickup truck with his gun drawn.
Simpson then appears to drive around the parked truck, with Little now to his left.
The shooting occured off camera.
Officers are often given leeway in similar situations where vehicles are alleged to have been used — or thought to have been used — as a weapon.
In Tahlequah in July, a 21-year-old man named Darian Daniels was shot by officers there after he allegedly backed his car up at officers who had been pursuing him. One officer fired five shots at Daniels, who survived the shooting and was booked into the Cherokee County jail and later charged with eluding and assault on a police officer. The officer, Bronson McNeil, was cleared in the shooting.
There have been at least 28 fatal officer-involved shootings in Oklahoma this year, records show.