Findings released into last weekend's Tulsa Police shooting

Thursday, April 24th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Tulsa Police Department released its findings from Saturday morning's shooting when an officer killed a suspect.

The suspect's family has raised issues because the man didn't have a weapon when he was killed and the autopsy shows some of the bullets hit the suspect in the back. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright investigates what happened in a follow up report.

Officer Ron Leatherman says he saw 24-year-old Shane Humphrey leave a known drug house and decided to stop the car. After a short chase, Humphrey jumped out and ran one way, his wife, the other. Officer Leatherman chased Humphrey into a backyard and the two got into a fight. Sgt Mike Huff, Tulsa Homicide Unit: "You could not characterize this as a struggle. It was a violent, knock down, drag out fight for his life."

Officer Leatherman says at one point Humphreys said, enough, so they stopped fighting and when the officer went for his handcuffs, Humphreys hit him in the nose so hard, his head snapped back and he couldn't see. Sgt Mike Huff: "He was thinking he was blacking out and many things flashed through his mind, including that 25% of all officers are killed with their own weapons and he felt he'd be a part of those statistics."

After reading reports and talking to detectives, we believe this is one way the shooting could've happened. The officer said the suspect had a hold of him and was pulling on him. When he pulled his gun out, the suspect turned and was hit in the arm, the back, the rear and the legs. Much research has been done on how fast a target can turn even while the trigger is being pulled. Officers say the evidence backs up the officer's account. Sgt Mike Huff: "Chasing a suspect into a backyard is our job. Dying at the end of it is not our job."

Officer Leatherman is on routine suspension. The investigation now goes to the District Attorney's office for review. Humphreys was convicted in 1995 for armed robbery and escaped from the Tulsa County jail a year later while also facing charges in Craig County.

Neighbors tell police they heard Humphreys say he planned to take an officer's gun and shoot the officer in the head the next time he was pulled over. Humphreys' family has hired an attorney.