There’s some jolting news coming out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A 73-year-old reserve deputy mistakenly shot and killed a man with his gun when he intended to pull his Taser.
The news comes via the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office.
Reserve Deputy Robert Bates attempted to help subdue and apprehend 44-year-old Eric Harris, Thursday, after the suspected illicit gun dealer allegedly sold authorities one pistol and several hundred rounds of ammunition prior to Bates’ mortal error.
According to NewsChannel 4, when the reserve deputy assisted authorities in arresting Harris, the suspect resisted. He soon fled and a struggle occurred. Being a gun dealer, they were worried Harris might be naturally armed.
In the midst of that struggle and hum of fear, Bates pulled his “Taser” out and shot Harris dead. Only, Bates had pulled his gun out by mistake.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release regarding the shooting, adding that Harris had admitted to being “high on PCP” at the time of the incident, as if that really had anything to do with anything, though. Does the fact that Harris smoked PCP make his accidental murder any less tragic?
Needless to say, the Sheriffs’ Office is chalking the matter up to a “tragic event.”
Tell that to Harris.
The statement read, in part:
During the rapidly evolving altercation, the reserve deputy had what he believed was his Taser from his tactical carrier and attempted to render aid in subduing the suspect…. Believing he was utilizing a Taser… he inadvertently discharged his service weapon, firing one round which struck Harris.
Still, Bates is no stranger to law enforcement. The Sheriff’s Office website lists him with the honor of Reserve Deputy of the Year back in 2011.
He is also a former, full-time officer, himself. Is it likely that one with so much experience under his belt would make such a rookie mistake?
What do you think?