Investigation into last week's fatal police shooting on US highway 169 continues

Wednesday, May 28th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether a Jenks Police officer fired his gun during last week's pursuit and deadly shooting, even though the officer has repeatedly said, he did not.

This is the same officer who declined to give a statement to investigating officers immediately after the incident. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains that decision may not be that unusual at all.

Jenks Police officer Timothy McDaniel pursued an armed man from Jenks to north Tulsa last week before the suspect crashed his truck, then police say, reached for a gun and was shot and killed by a Tulsa Police officer and an OHP trooper. McDaniel, who witnessed the shooting at close range, said he didn't fire his weapon but declined to give any additional statements at the scene.

Officer McDaniel's supervisors examined his gun right after the shooting and saw no evidence it had been fired. OSBI ran ballistics tests on the gun, but haven't had time to analyze them yet. Loren Gibson, McDaniel's Attorney: "He absolutely did not fire a shot in the incident and the bullet count verifies this." Gibson says no officer who's involved in or witnessed something so traumatic as a shooting, should give a statement right away.

Scott Wood, an attorney who gives seminars on critical incidents, recommends officers wait 48 hours because the psychological and physical effects are so powerful; they affect an officer's memory. "If your heart rate gets about 175, it can affect your hearing, that's why officers often say they didn't hear their own gun go off as they fired their shots."

Another reason to hesitate is because lawsuits are filed in 80% of officer-involved shootings. In fact, officer McDaniel was involved in shooting and killing two teenagers in 1999 after a pursuit. A lawsuit was filed in that case and later settled. Officer McDaniel was cleared of any wrongdoing. Loren Gibson: "He's got a perfect work record, he's been on the force eight or nine years now and has done an exemplary job."

McDaniel is on routine suspension until this case is decided. The OSBI says it will give its report to the Tulsa County DA by late next week.