Tulsa Police Sergeant Killed When Nonlethal Force Returned with Gunfire

Posted: Jul 05, 2020 10:02 AM

A Tulsa police sergeant died Tuesday after being shot multiple times during a traffic stop.

Sgt. Craig Johnson, 45, came to provide backup assistance to another officer who pulled over David Anthony Ware, 33, for an expired paper license. The suspect would not get out of the vehicle when officers said it would have to be towed, and that's when things escalated.

Despite Johnson trying to use nonlethal force—the suspect pulled a gun on him and another officer.

A struggle ensued, in which Sergeant Johnson fired his Taser at Mr. Ware, who removed the stun gun’s prongs from his body. Sergeant Johnson then used pepper spray on Mr. Ware, who pulled out a handgun and fired several rounds at the officers as they removed him from the car, the chief said.

The condition of the other officer, Aurash Zarkeshan, 26, who had just finished training in May and had been on patrol for about six weeks, was described on Monday as critical. The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police referred questions on Tuesday about Officer Zarkeshan’s condition to the Police Department, which did not give an update.

Armin Zarkeshan, Officer Zarkeshan’s brother, said in a brief interview on Tuesday night that the officer was “doing better.”

Mr. Ware was arrested later on Monday and was charged with first-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, the authorities said. (The New York Times)

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Posted by Tulsa's Channel 8 - KTUL on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

"These are officers who have chosen to be in law enforcement at a historically challenging time," Tulsa's mayor, G.T. Bynum, said Monday during a news conference. "Sergeant Johnson was a good man who made our lives better, who trained his fellow officers to be better ... our city mourns."

Johnson is survived by a wife and two young children.

The shooting comes as anti-police brutality protests sweep the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody. Calls to defund the police are also gaining steam, with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD. In Minneapolis, the city council has also moved to defund the police.