Police Shooting Turns Deadly

Tuesday, July 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police are talking to witnesses after shooting and killing a man inside a bar Sunday night. Officers say 35-year-old Fernando Gonzalez pointed a gun at them before they shot him. A couple saw Gonzalez with a gun, and called 911 for help. Police are also looking at whether a language barrier between Gonzalez and police contributed to the shooting. When officers went into the bar 7 customers were still inside along with Fernando Gonzalez. Officers say he was standing behind the bar with a gun they yelled at the customers to get down and then told Gonzalez to drop his weapon. "This is according to witnesses, they gave him the commands 10 or 12 times. It appeared he understood them, then, for some reason, he retrieved his gun," says Sgt. Wayne Allen, Tulsa police. One witness told police, "I saw him raise the gun, finger on the trigger. I then heard shots and ran out the front door." Another witness said, "The officers asked the man several times to put his hands over his head in English and also in Spanish." Despite all those efforts, the two officers fired at least 17 shots. "They both discharged a volley of rounds. They weren't sure they hit him cause he spun around and pointed the gun at them again and they fired another volley of rounds at him," says Allen Officers later found Gonzalez' gun on a barstool it was empty. No one understands why Gonzalez did what he did, but, witnesses say he was quite drunk. "It's almost a universal body language that when an officer is pointing a gun at you, you don't point one back. We don't think he was confused or that words alone could cause you to do that," says Allen. Police hope by learning what was going on in Gonzalez' life before the shooting, maybe they'll find the answer to the question, why did it happen.