Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa police officer is on routine suspension after shooting and killing a man who pulled a gun during a traffic stop.
Officer Adam Dawson says he had no choice but to kill the man. Investigators say the evidence backs up Officer Dawson's account.
The suspect, LaKeith Roland, was only 20 years old and police say he was a neighborhood Crip. His friends say he didn't want to go back to jail.
News On 6 learned a warrant was issued for his arrest just a few weeks ago, but he was only facing misdemeanor charges.
Police say Officer Adam Dawson was pulling over a vehicle Sunday night around 10:30 p.m. on North Peoria. They say the driver didn't stop, but drove about another mile to a remote area, then got out quickly.
"The driver got out of the car before it stopped rolling, didn't even put it in park and pulled a gun and came at the officer," Sergeant Mike Huff said.
Police say there were five passengers in the car and they told officers, LaKeith Roland said he did not want to go back to jail and would rather die.
One piece of evidence that investigators say backs up Officer Dawson's account is that one of his bullet's hit Roland's 9mm handgun on the trigger guard and the only way that could've happened, is if the gun was pointed straight at the officer.
"All indications are the officer did exactly as he had to do, what he was trained to do and that was defend his life," Sergeant Huff said.
It's hard to understand Roland's actions, when records show he wasn't facing any real time.
He'd been charged with domestic assault, making a threat and carrying a concealed weapon; all misdemeanors. After his ex-girlfriend claimed he punched her at a McDonald's parking lot, then broke out her car window with a tire iron, showed her a gun and threatened to dust her.
The charges had been dismissed once, but then recently re-filed and the warrant issued.
He was also almost two years into a three year protective order that another woman had against him. Yet, police say he forced an officer to make a life altering choice.
"There is no policeman that starts a shift by saying I want to kill somebody tonight," Sergeant Huff said. "Very sadly, this officer did have to use deadly force and it does affect you the rest of your life."
Officer Dawson will be put through a lengthy criminal investigation and the case will be turned over to the DA. Then, he'll face an internal affairs investigation where every moment of his split second decision will be picked apart.