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DA: OHP Troopers Justified In Deadly Shootout

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The pursuit began just after midnight on Jan. 25, 2014. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Bunch tried to stop Sumner for running a stop sign at SE Grand and I-35. The pursuit began just after midnight on Jan. 25, 2014. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Bunch tried to stop Sumner for running a stop sign at SE Grand and I-35.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater reviewed the investigative reports, photos, and witness statements for the shooting death of Zachary Sumner, near Interstate 40 and Sunnylane Rd. in Del City earlier this year.

A key piece of evidence in the case is the dash cam video that shows what the troopers did at every turn. The pursuit began just after midnight on Jan. 25, 2014. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Bunch tried to stop Sumner for running a stop sign at SE Grand and I-35.

Bunch chased Sumner north on I-35 and was later joined by Troopers Brandon Seward and Ryan Smith, who were also out on patrol that night. Sumner fired three shots at the troopers from his driver side window during the pursuit that eventually merged onto I-40 toward Del City.

Sumner rammed three different vehicles on I-40 while traveling at speeds up 100 mph. The video showed Bunch trying conduct a TVI in an attempt to prevent the suspect from hitting any other cars. Sumner later blew out two tires on his vehicle and bailed out near I-40 and Sunny Lane.

3/12/2014 Related Story: OHP Troopers Cleared Of Wrongdoing After Deadly Shootout

Dash cam video from inside Smith's patrol car showed Bunch and Seward chasing the suspect on foot. At that point, Smith drove ahead in an attempt to keep Sumner from getting close to the nearby homes, but when Smith tried to cut him off Sumner shot Smith in the face.

Sumner then turned his gun on the other troopers. Bunch received a gunshot wound to his leg. In defense, Bunch and Seward returned a barrage of bullets to prevent Sumner from injuring another trooper.

After Prater reviewed the case file he issued a letter clearing the troopers of any wrongdoing. Prater said the troopers' actions were justified.

"Sumner was armed and extremely dangerous," said Prater. 

Crime scene photos revealed additional evidence that Sumner shot at troopers during the chase. A photograph of gun powder residue on the side of the suspect vehicle indicates Sumner shot at the troopers out of the driver side window during the chase.

Prater commended the troopers saying, "They continued to perform their duties without regard for their own safety. The troopers demonstrated exemplary tactics and behavior during this violent series of events. Sumner gave the troopers no choice but to employ deadly force to defend themselves.

The Chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol released this statement concerning the incident:

"The actions of Troopers Ryan Smith, Christopher Bunch and Brandon Seward can best be described as courageous and heroic in defense of our citizens and one another. This was an example of the inherent danger every Oklahoma State Trooper faces in their day to day service to the public. I'm very proud of them as they acted admirably under the most stressful situation imaginable. The Highway Patrol has professionals such as these men who continue to honorably serve the citizens of Oklahoma in all of our 77 counties." -Colonel Ricky Adams, Chief of Patrol.

Smith and Bunch were treated for their injuries and released from the hospital. It's unclear if they plan to return to work.

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