Video of a fatal shooting by Tulsa police on Friday shows at least one witness thought police had little choice but to shoot the man.
Though the shooting victim’s name has not yet been publicly released, The Frontier has reviewed records indicating he once lived on base at Fort Bragg, NC, and may be a veteran.
The shooting is the sixth fatal shooting by Tulsa police this year. A seventh person died after being Tased by police at a motel.
The video, recorded by a witness across the street from the shooting, shows the 58-year-old man walking away from a police officer before he is shot. The Frontier received a link to the video from our media partner, NewsOn6, and recorded it on a second cell phone before it was removed from YouTube.
Warning: The video contains graphic content.
The video shows police repeatedly yelling “drop the knife” at the man as he walks down the middle of the street near McDonald’s at 1708 E. First St. Though it’s difficult to tell from the video, the man appears to turn around and face police just before he is shot.
Police first fired a Taser at the man, then about six seconds later at least three gunshots and a Taser can be heard before the man falls to the ground.
“Another man down, another man down,” says the unidentified witness. “He should’ve dropped that knife. He wanted to die, shit. It’s over.”
“Did they kill him?” another person asks the witness.
“They had to. I don’t know if he’s dead. They had to. He wouldn’t put the mother****ing knife down. He was running and … they popped him. He got Tased and popped.”
A little over 1 minute passes before an officer ran up to the scene with what appears to be medical equipment.
“Hey man back up man, before you get shot too,” the witness tells a man standing near the street.
“Did they shoot him?” somebody asks.
“Hell yeah, they shot him. Because he had a knife. They Tased him and they shot him. That man is gone. They popped him three times,” the witness replies.
Tulsa police homicide Sgt. Dave Walker said police deployed Tasers several times before they shot the man.
“None of them seemed to have an effect. I think the first one, only one probe hit so that would not complete the circuit “
When asked whether the man’s knife blade was open or closed, Walker said: “That’s an interesting question. … I would assume it was open because they (witnesses) keep saying, ‘the knife.’ ”
Walker said witnesses told police the man was walking in the middle of Third Street holding a knife and “making slashing motions.”
“The first officer arrives between Second and Third on Utica and yells at him to drop the knife and honks his horn. The guy keeps walking away. He’s not really running; he’s just making slashing motions and the other officer arrives.”
In a press release, We The People Oklahoma appeared to question the decision to shoot the man in a crowded setting.
“With so many bystanders and occupied vehicles in the area was it in the best interest of the public to use deadly force in such a populated area?”
The release also called on police to test the officers involved and to turn the investigation over to the state.
“Most employers require tests after an incident occurs on the job. Our law enforcement departments should do the same. We also believe that this investigation should be completed by the state and not local law enforcement.”
Walker said when the officers shot the man, both were north of him and facing southeast. Several cars were nearby the scene.
“It’s one of those things where, what are we supposed to do? If we let him go and he kills an innocent bystander … We tried less lethal that didn’t work. It escalated.”
Walker said once the attempts to subdue the man with Tasers failed, police had no choice but to use deadly force.
“We are not ninjas and we don’t have super secret stuff to throw on somebody.”
Walker said attempts to reach the man’s family so far have been unsuccessful. He said TPD has received several calls from families inquiring if the dead man is their relative.
“We are getting all these families calling saying my dad is mentally unstable and he stays in this area.”
Police hope to release more information on the shooting Sunday, including the man’s name.