Investigation continues into weekend police shooting in Sapulpa

Monday, September 20th 2004, 2:42 pm
By: News On 6

A second police incident in Sapulpa in a month. This time, a shooting leaves a suspect, Mike Keef, in critical condition.

Last month, the suspect died. Both times, it was the same officer.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright went to Sapulpa and says once again, it's a bad deal for everyone involved.

Naturally, some people want to know if the officer is overzealous or it's just bad luck and bad timing that he was involved in both cases. This time, the suspect's family backs up the officer's story, even if they do disagree with the outcome.

Mike Keef's family says he's a schizophrenic who'd been off his medication for two days and was extremely drunk and had used a knife to cut his arm to the bone. They called for police and an ambulance. They say when Sergeant Brett Henson arrived; he saw Keef carrying the knife, got out of his patrol car, pulled his gun and started telling him to drop it.

Keef’s daughter Erin Cartwright: "Asked him to put the knife down and Mike approached him until they got about four feet away and the officer started to back step." She says the officer kept backing up, yelling commands until he tripped over the curb and fell. Keef kept coming forward, so Sergeant Henson fired three times.

Police say he had no choice and did exactly what he was trained to do. Sapulpa Police Captain Rick Rumsey: "No background of improper use of force. No complaints that he's gone overboard in an arrest.”

Sapulpa Police say Sergeant Henson has never had a written complaint of excess force in his 14 years on the department and has 10 letters of commendation and twice been selected as officer of the year. They say he had pepper spray, but could've gotten killed if he tried to use it against a weapon that can do lethal damage.

The family understands the officer had to shoot, but they want to know why he didn't shoot just once or shoot him in the leg or foot. But officers are trained to shoot at the center part of the body and in two or three shot bursts until the threat is stopped. That is of little comfort to a family who's seeing a loved one suffer. Erin: "When they got him there, they removed a kidney, he has a collapsed lung and they did surgery to repair his gallbladder."

Sergeant Henson was recently cleared in the death of a Darryl Wicke who died when a piece of glass from a broken door, sliced his neck during an arrest.

Henson is currently on suspension again while the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation investigates this case.

Sapulpa Police say had they known Keef was mentally ill, they might've tried to do things differently, but it happened very fast and all they knew was he had a knife and had already hurt himself and might hurt others.