The Tulsa County (Okla.) Sheriff's Officer has released a video of an incident in which a 73-year-old reserve deputy shot and killed a suspect April 2 during an undercover operation. The reserve deputy has told investigators he believed he was holding a Taser, not a gun, when the shooting occurred.
The reserve deputy who shot the man is a Tulsa insurance company executive who was working undercover as a member of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Task Force. He received his reserve status in 2008.
The sheriff's office says the reserve deputy was assigned to the Tulsa County Violent Crimes Task Force and had received specialized training in homicide investigation, meth lab identification and decontamination, and other specialized training.
The Tulsa World reports that the reserve deputy and insurance company executive served as chairman of the Re-elect Sheriff (Stanley) Glanz Committee in 2012 and donated $2,500 to Glanz’s campaign that year. He also reportedly has donated multiple vehicles, guns and stun guns to the Sheriff’s Office
Suspect Harris fled arrest and was involved in an altercation with another deputy when he was shot, Maj. Shannon Clark said. Clark said in a release Friday that Harris had come to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office during an investigation into methamphetamine distribution.
Harris sold meth to undercover investigators and said he had access to guns, as well, Clark said in the release. On Thursday, Harris met a task force member in the parking lot of a Dollar General to sell him a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and ammunition, then ran when other deputies tried to take him into custody.
Court records show that six criminal felony cases and one misdemeanor case were filed against Harris in Tulsa County District Court over a 10-year span. His convictions include making threatening telephone calls and escaping from a penal institution in 1990, as well as robbery with a dangerous weapon in 1999. He also was found guilty of forging a document and two counts of larceny, records show.
The reserve deputy, according to the release, saw Harris reach near his waistband as he fled from pursuing deputies and responded by pulling out what he thought was a Taser. After Harris became involved in a struggle with another deputy, the reserve deputy, thinking he was using a Taser, fired one shot, striking Harris.
The reserve deputy involved in this incident apparently is not alone as both a donor and reserve deputy. While the Sheriff’s Office has not released its full roster, Clark told the Tulsa World other wealthy donors are among the agency’s 130 reserve deputies.
"There are lots of wealthy people in the reserve program," Clark said. "Many of them make donations of items. That’s not unusual at all."