Oklahoma police officer dies after traffic-stop shooting

AP News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2017 6:36 PM

TECUMSEH, Okla. (AP) — A 22-year-old officer and new recruit died Monday morning after a shootout with a man who fled a traffic stop in central Oklahoma, police said.

Officer Justin Terney was shot several times late Sunday and died after undergoing surgery overnight, Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney said.

Terney had only graduated from the police academy last summer, Kidney said.

"He was a very young officer, just getting a start," he said. "He was taken way too soon."

The man who fired on Terney was also shot multiple times and in intensive care Monday morning, Kidney said. Police have not released his identity.

Terney pulled over a vehicle about 11:30 p.m. Sunday in Tecumseh, 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, according to police. A woman was driving, and Terney called dispatchers to see if a male passenger had any outstanding warrants.

At that point, the man ran toward some nearby woods, Kidney said. Terney chased the man on foot and used a stun gun, but that failed to stop him. The man then shot at Terney, who returned fire, he said.

Both wounded men were taken to OU Medical Center.

Authorities have yet to confirm the identity of the other man involved in the shootout.

"If it is who we think this person is, there's a possibility that he has some warrants," Kidney said. "That could be the reason that he ran."

Police detained the woman who was driving for questioning.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said it will assist with crime scene investigation, which is common for police shootings.

Kidney told The Oklahoman that Terney had a new puppy and had hoped to become a canine officer. Terney grew up in Canadian, in eastern Oklahoma, and was also a volunteer firefighter, Kidney said.

Gov. Mary Fallin, who grew up and graduated from high school in Tecumseh, offered her condolences to those affected by Terney's killing.

"It makes us remember and realize how dangerous being in law enforcement is these days," Fallin said. "Especially to have a 22-year-old officer who had just been an officer for a year is certainly very tragic, and our prayers go out with his family and his friends and relatives and certainly with the Tecumseh police force."

Fallin said Terney's body is being returned to his family in eastern Oklahoma. She said she intends to order all flags on state property be flown at half-staff on the day of Terney's funeral, which hasn't been scheduled.

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Associated Press writer Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.