Officer On Leave After Killing Suspect


Wednesday, April 11th 2007, 3:12 pm
By: News On 6


Tulsa police are piecing together the details of an officer involved shooting. The incident began Wednesday afternoon with a couple of armed robberies in East Tulsa. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports it ended with an officer shooting and killing a suspect, who turned out to be unarmed.

When police arrived at the Sierra Pointe Apartments they were looking for at least two armed robbery suspects. Two people had been tied up, beaten and robbed at gunpoint in a nearby complex. Police say a maintenance man at the Sierra Pointe Apartments was also tied up, robbed and pistol-whipped with a semi-automatic handgun.

Within minutes, police had a K-9 unit on the suspects' trail.

"The K-9 officers indicated that there was a scent picked up and led directly to an apartment over here," said Tulsa Police Sergeant Ted Umbarger.

Police say the dog led them directly to a unit at the Sierra Pointe Apartments, where a man jumped out of a bathroom window. They say the suspect then jumped over the complex's fence, and ran along U.S. Highway 169 until he met up with an officer.

"When he got to the top of the bridge he turned around and reached into his waist band, at that time the officer fired one round, striking the suspect," said Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham.

The suspect died immediately. After a search of his body, officers discovered he did not have a weapon.

"You know it’s just a bad situation,” Willingham said. “Everything appears, at this point, that the officer did everything he could."

The officer who shot the suspect is described as a veteran. He's been placed on routine administrative leave while police try to sort the shooting out. They’ll hand over their report to the district attorney, and it will be up to him to decide, legally, if the shooting was justified.

"It’s a situation where if you look at it quickly, it doesn't look good. But the bottom line is I want to go home just like you do and I don't know what's going on in that gentleman's mind," said Willingham.

As police continue to investigate the shooting they say one of the first things they need to confirm is that the suspect who was killed, was indeed one of the suspects involved in the armed robberies.

Officers say they did find guns in the apartment the suspect jumped out of.