Sheriff: Wagoner County Deputy Shoots Man Who Charged Him With Knife

Thursday, January 26th 2017, 1:02 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

The Wagoner County sheriff said he's thankful he's not planning a funeral for one of his deputies after a man ran at him with an eight-inch knife.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating after the deputy shot 23-year-old Brandon Cotero, who is now in the hospital.

The deputy was identified as Johnny Phorn, who is on paid administrative leave.

In a rural area southwest of Wagoner, deputies said they were called to a house in the 75300 block of South 260 Road twice Thursday morning.

Sheriff Chris Elliott said Cotero and his mom were arguing about money when deputies went to the home.

Elliott said deputies thought things had calmed down, so they left. But they went back for a second time, and Elliott said things could have turned deadly when Cotero ran at the deputy with a large kitchen knife.

"Suspect got too close to my deputy. Deputy gave him multiple warnings according to what witnesses told us out there to drop the knife and to please stop," Elliott said.

The sheriff said the suspect did not put the knife down, so the deputy shot at him three times, hitting him once in the chest.

Elliott said, "If you're running to one of my deputies with a knife in your hand, you're probably gonna find yourself in trouble."

The sheriff said, right now, he's not sure if anyone witnessed the shooting.

"There was a deputy and a Wagoner police officer that was rolling up on the scene,” he said. “I'm not sure if they actually saw the shooting, but they did get there just seconds after the shooting. And the Wagoner police officer actually began first aid on the suspect immediately."

Elliott said the deputy has three years of experience with the sheriff's office.

"We're gonna support our deputy, and be very proud, that, you know, we're not burying a deputy," he said.

Cotero is in the hospital and is expected to survive.

Wagoner County doesn't have video of the shooting because its deputies do not wear body cameras and their patrol controls are not equipped with dash cameras.

Phorn was involved in another shooting six weeks ago. The sheriff’s office said that time Phorn shot a theft suspect who was in a car and backed up toward Phorn at the end of a chase.

12/15/2016 Related Story: Wagoner County Deputy Shoots Suspect During Pursuit

The deputy fired several shots and hit the man in the chest. That man survived.

Phorn was placed on administrative leave at the time but was cleared in that shooting and returned to duty earlier this month.