TPD Officer Talks About Fighting Off Suspect Who Tried To Grab His Gun

Friday, January 18th 2013, 6:14 pm

By: News On 6

Tulsa police officer Tyler Turnbough remains on routine suspension after he used a knife to stop a suspect from taking the officer's gun out of his holster.

In an exclusive interview, Turnbough described what it was it was like to be in a fight for his life.

Turnbough has been on the force about four years.

He knows the statistics about officers being killed with their own guns, and he was determined not to be one of them.

Turnbough was on duty Sunday night for about four hours when he tried to make a traffic stop, but said Jeremy Thomas took off, finally bailing out of the car and running.

Turnbough caught up to him on a little porch and said Thomas started fighting, then grabbed for the officer's gun.

"The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘He's got your gun. You have to win the fight.'" Turnbough said.

1/17/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Police Officer Stabs Suspect Trying To Grab His Gun

The commotion got the homeowner's attention and he came to the door to see what was going on.

"I was doing everything I could to let him know what was going on," Turnbough said. "(I told him), ‘Don't open the door. He's got a hold of my gun. Call the police. It's the police. I need help. Call for backup.'"

The woman who also lives in the residence said the fight was so loud it was shaking the house. She said Thomas and Turnbough were banging back and forth, and it even knocked down a curtain and a planter inside. The whole time, she said she could hear the officer yelling, ‘Let go of my gun, let go of my gun."

"I was trying everything in my toolbox," Turnbough said. "I'm strong… I tried everything under the sun I could think of, nothing was working. He wasn't feeling any pain. He was strong enough that he wasn't breaking lose of my gun, so I just went to my knife."

Thomas was arrested and treated for cuts.

Records show he has a half-dozen convictions going back to 1993, including assaulting a jail officer.

Turnbough said protecting his gun wasn't just about saving himself from getting shot, but he didn't want anyone else to be shot with his gun either.

"His goal is not get my gun and run off," Turnbough said. "His goal is to get my gun and shoot me and …go in the house and shoot those people or another house and shoot someone else."

The holster Tulsa officers carry has special retention measures, making it harder for a criminal to get a gun out and fire it.

Turnbough and his wife are expecting their second child in April.


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