Man wounded in gun fight with police dies

Friday, February 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A 78-year-old man who was shot by police officers after firing a shotgun at them died Thursday during surgery.

Jack Harper was pronounced dead at 3:42 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital after being wounded in the leg Wednesday, said Officer Lucky Lamons.

The bullet had passed through Harper's upper leg and severed a major artery, causing blood loss and trauma, Lamons said.

Two police officers involved in the shooting, Scott Mackechney and Tyrone Lynn, were placed on administrative leave pending a review of the case by the district attorney's office, he said.

Police do not know which officer shot Harper, because investigators have been unable to locate the fatal bullet, Lamons said.

After the district attorney rules on whether the shooting was justified, the police department will make an internal affairs review before the officers go before a shooting review board. That board will decide whether the shooting was within police policy, Lamons said. Finally, Chief Ron Palmer will review the shooting.

When officers responded to a call to his house, they said Harper was wearing pajama bottoms and no top and was shooting a shotgun into the air outside his south Tulsa home. He fired at the two motorcycle officers when they approached him and ordered him to drop the gun, police said.

Lamons said pellets from the shotgun blast struck one officer in the helmet. But the officer was not injured.

"Anytime Tulsa police have to use force, it is an unfortunate event," Lamons said. "But they had no choice but to protect themselves and other people in the neighborhood."

Police said Harper had been despondent and had been having mental and physical health problems. Neighbors also said he had diabetes.

A man who knew Harper said he was shocked to hear of Wednesday's shooting.

Steve and Pam Sloan and their two children moved into the house behind Harper's in 1991.

"Our children learned to swim in his pool," Steve Sloan said.

"He was a real gentleman."