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Oklahoma Reserve Deputy Charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter

April 13, 2015  | 

A 73-year-old Oklahoma reserve deputy who accidentally shot and killed a man during an undercover gun sting on April 2 was charged today with second-degree manslaughter, according to a press release from the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office.

“[The reserve deputy] is charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter involving culpable negligence. Oklahoma law defines culpable negligence as ‘the omission to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the lack of the usual ordinary care and caution in the performance of an act usually and ordinarily exercised by a person under similar circumstances and conditions,’” District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in the statement.

Earlier Monday, Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz described the reserve deputy as a longtime friend who made "an error" last week when he fatally shot an unarmed man trying to flee deputies during an undercover operation to retrieve stolen guns.

Glanz also told the Tulsa World he had no plans to change the deputy reserve program but that it will be looked as part of the Sheriff's Department routine review of operations.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the reserve deputy had intended to use a Taser on Eric Courtney Harris as Harris was being subdued during an undercover gun buy on April 2 but instead pulled his gun and fired one shot, killing Harris.

Glanz responded to critics who have said the reserve deputy was too old to be a reserve deputy. The Sheriff's Office once had an 81-year-old deputy, Glanz said.

"I am 72 years old, and I think I am still active," the sheriff said.

Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

ernesto vera @ 4/13/2015 3:44 PM

There would have been no shooting if the thug wasn't selling a gun illegally.
Hey, one less bad guy. Poor old man, hope he beats the rap.

Jon Retired LEO @ 4/13/2015 5:15 PM

While I don't know how these officers' belts are equipped, this instance is why my department always had us carry our Tazers on the weak hand side in a crossdraw‚Č• The cross draw makes you think a bit when drawing so you know what weapon is in your hand.

Mike Lewis @ 4/13/2015 5:34 PM

I fully understand how something like this could happen...when you're 73 years old. As a 30 year veteran police officer, 22 years as a trooper, and now in my third term as Sheriff, it's nearly impossible to expect an elderly reserve deputy to sharply observe, analyze, and respond to any rapidly-evolving situation, let alone a dangerous "undercover gun sting". I'm sorry Sheriff Glanz, but you have little choice but to quickly review and modify your reserve deputy program.

kevCopAz @ 4/13/2015 6:07 PM

That sheriff is arrogant. Just the way he worded this statement proves that he is that way. I once had a 91 yr old in law too but did I make him a deputy? NO! There is a big difference between the Sheriff being of that age, he does not do enforcement, he is an administrator. If he wants his "old boys" club wearing badges then he should have them do administrative work, transport cars etc and let the younger more capable deputies do the police work. No matter what he says the age of this deputy made a difference and the Sheriff is to blame as much as anybody for allowing that obvious risk to exist. Perhaps the sheriff could be charged since he "committed something that a reasonable person would do" and that would be not give a 72 y/o man a handgun and let him join an enforcement team. The Sheriff needs to step down, this will cost the county $$$$$ and sorry to say that the bad guy will get it in the end (pun intended)

clifford zigler @ 4/13/2015 10:25 PM

younger officers have made the same mistake...I find that positioning gear in opposing locations helps to eliminate this error

Bill @ 4/13/2015 10:45 PM

Seems I remember a few months back that a fairly young Officer mistakenly pulled her pistol instead of her taser and shot a man in the leg. Maybe she was just young. I am also a reserve deputy, a retired sheriff and 77 years young.

Sgt. Mike @ 4/15/2015 6:37 AM

This is not a story about age. My agency has, and relies on reserve deputies who are 65+. The oldest is 82 and is currently one of our departments best competitive shooters. He used to shoot on the Navy's team when he served. These reserve deputies do prisoner transports, courtroom security, bailiff duties, and many other functions including patrolling with regular deputies.

Age is a consideration, with our occupation as much as any other physical fitness issue, but this story is about a Reserve Deputy who is alleged to have negligently discharged a firearm. That my friends has nothing to do with age.

I wish well for the family who lost this man, the department who is dealing with the investigation and aftermath, and for the deputy who is facing this tragic mistake and court battle.

David B @ 4/16/2015 2:17 PM

A 73-year-old Oklahoma reserve deputy who accidentally shot and killed a man, don't you mean "allegedly shot and killed?"

Either way the Sheriff is partly to blame for this shooting for allowing a 73 year old to be out there with a badge and gun.

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