The Tulsa Police Department released graphic video footage on Monday morning that showed the shooting of two Tulsa police officers.
The body camera and dash-camera footage of slain officer Sergeant Craig Johnson and wounded Officer Aurash Zarkeshan showed their deadly encounter with David Ware during a routine traffic stop, reports Public Radio Tulsa.
On June 26, 2020, at 3:06 a.m. Officer Zarkeshan stopped Ware after he failed to yield, made an illegal left turn, and was operating the vehicle with expired tags.
Zarkeshan initiated the stop, and Ware identified himself but said he was unable to find his driver’s license. Zarkeshan took down Ware’s information and returned to his vehicle.
After a few minutes, Johnson arrived as backup, and Zarkeshan went to greet him. Both officers then approached Ware and asked him to exit the vehicle.
Ware then became combative, telling the officers, “I’m not stepping out of my car.”
He then called someone named “Matt,” gave the person his location, and asked the person to come get him, as he explained that his rights were being violated.
Ware is then tased and pepper-sprayed twice, but still managed to struggle with the officers. Shots were fired, and Johnson can be heard saying “what the,” before he starts screaming. Ware fires multiple times at Zarkeshan before he turns back to shoot Johnson again, appearing to shoot him in the head, and then Johnson goes silent and still.
Ware then ran to Matt Hall’s car, his accused getaway driver, who pulled up moments before Ware started firing at the officers.
Johnson was pronounced dead from his injuries, and Zarkeshan was critically wounded in the shootout.
Ware’s attorney, Kevin Adams, had been pushing for the release of the video footage over what he called “discrepancies” between statements made by TPD and actual events. One of the discrepancies Adams highlighted was that Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin claimed Ware “slowly” walked away from the crime scene, negatively impacting how his client is characterized.
“Some have tried to paint a picture of deception, that what we have told you is deceptive. In no way is it deceptive,” Franklin said during a press conference on Monday. “Sometimes, everything that we get has gone through several people, and may not be totally accurate, but we are accurate as we can be.”
“Realistically, the discrepancies don’t matter,” Franklin continued.
Ware has been charged with murder for the shooting death of Johnson and shooting with intent to kill Zarkeshan. Hall is charged with accessory to murder and accessory to a felony. They are both set to be arraigned on October 5.