The Mayes County Sheriff is defending his deputies after a hand-cuffed suspect was shot to death Tuesday.
The OSBI is investigating, but the sheriff didn't want to wait to clear the air.
Sheriff Mike Reed said he understands that there are immediate questions from the public when a suspect is shot while in handcuffs, but he said the man was shot because he fired his gun first.
People staying at the Days Inn in Pryor were shocked to hear what happened.
"I saw a bunch of cop cars and I thought, ‘Man, what's going on?'" said Michael HIbbs, who was doing laundry at the time. "I just saw them carrying the body out this morning and they wouldn't tell me anything about it other than a man had died. I had no idea he was shot."
The man who died is Will Perneau.
Acting on a tip, a Mayes County deputy and an off-duty Salina police officer, who was riding along, came to the hotel to bust up a possible drug deal.
Their K-9 detected drugs, so they took Perneau into custody. But they say a woman in the room with Perneau was being very uncooperative and they turned their attention to her.
"At that time, the suspect retrieved a firearm from his waistband, turned around and fired at the officers, and only at that time did the officers then return fire," said Sheriff Mike Reed.
Perneau's shot missed, but the Salina cop pulled the trigger, killing Perneau.
We asked if the officers had searched Perneau for weapons after cuffing him.
"You do a quick pat-down, but when things get so fast and so volatile, which is my understanding about what happened here, you're talking halves of seconds," Reed said.
Sheriff Reed said the distraction the woman was causing kept them from searching Perneau.
He took the opportunity to make his move.
"When they have an intent to do harm, it's just split seconds and that's just what took place," Reed said.
The woman was not arrested.
The Mayes County deputy and the Salina cop are both on paid leave while OSBI investigates.
Sheriff Reed said his deputies don't wear any video or audio recording equipment, because the department can't afford it, but he wishes they had it, especially in cases like this.