Tahlequah Police Release Body Cam Video In Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting

Tuesday, June 30th 2015, 12:49 pm
By: News On 6

Tahlequah Police released body cam footage from an officer involved in a fatal shooting Saturday, June 27, 2015. Investigators say an officer shot Joshua Crittenden after he jumped out of an attic and pointed a gun at the officer.

Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King called a news conference to release video from the shooting and update the public on the investigation into the death of 35-year-old Crittenden. 

King identified the officer involved as a 15-year veteran of the force, Randy Tanner.

The video shows officers responding to a fight with weapons in progress. It doesn't show the officer shooting the suspect, but you can hear the gunfire.

6/29/2015 Related Story: Tahlequah Police To Hold News Conference In Officer-Involved Shooting

We're told Tanner did not have his body camera activated, and the video released is from one of the other police officers who were called to the 500 block of South Mission.

Officers were called to that location after getting a call about two men with weapons fighting. When they got there, they found Benjamin Brown and arrested him on outstanding warrants after finding a stolen truck on the property.

Brown told police another man had been in the truck with him but wasn't there anymore.

Police suspected the other man was still in the area and might be armed, so they searched the house. 

"He needs to come out now with his hands out, OK?" one officer is heard to say in the video. "If he jumps out we're probably going to shoot him, OK?"

Officers heard someone up in the attic. They surrounded the house to make sure the man in the attic didn't get away.Police Officer: "Get down! Move! Move! Move! Where's he at? Get your hands up now! He's got a gun! He's got a gun!"

Police Officer: "He jumped. I can't radio. I'm on the wrong channel to tell them. He's got a pistol, he's jumped. I believe he did! Shots! Shots! S**t! Tanner, are you all right? Shots fired, shots fired!

King said his department is trying to be as transparent as possible in the shooting. He said Officer Randy Tanner was on the side of the home where the man jumped out of the attic. 

Tanner told investigators the man, later identified as Joshua Crittenden, pointed a gun at him. Fearing for his life, Officer Tanner shot six times, killing Crittenden.

Chief King said Officer Tanner was put in a horrible situation and did everything he could to end the threat. Tanner serves as the department's firearms instructor.

He also said his officers were deeply affected by the shooting that took place in the small town.

"I knew Joshua Crittenden personally," King said. "I know his father.

"It makes it tough in a small town," he said. "The family watched the video today.

"It's a tragedy. This is a tragedy in Tahlequah. A man lost his life, and officers who were involved in this - I, myself - will never be the same the rest of our lives," he said. 

"These officers will forever carry this with them."

Tanner, who was not injured, was placed on routine leave during the investigation. Chief King said Tanner was observing that day and didn't hit the record button. When the shooting escalated, he didn't think to turn it on.

Officer Tanner is on leave pending the outcome of the OSBI investigation.