Five Oklahoma City police officers have been indicted for first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a 15-year-old male after he crawled out a drive-through window and placed a handgun on the ground.
Officers shot Stavian Rodriguez 13 times on November 23 after officers responded to a call for an attempted armed robbery of a convenience store, according to reports.
“Show us your hands, sir. Nobody has to get hurt,” one officer tells Rodriguez over a vehicle loudspeaker, according to video obtained by ABC affiliate KOCO.
The local news team reported that the clerk had managed to escape and lock the suspect inside before calling police, who responded and surrounded the convenience store.
“Hands!” officers shout as Rodriguez exited the drive-through window, stops, and raises his hoodie and shirt to reveal a gun in his waistband.
“Get face down on the ground,” orders one officer.
“Oh, don’t do that,” another officer says as Rodriguez then raises the handgun, butt-first with two fingers, and places it on the ground.
But then inexplicably, Rodriguez reaches behind him, appearing as though he may have been trying to retrieve something from his back left pocket, when officers yell for him to stop before opening fire, according to the video.
After several rounds are fired, a commander orders officers to “cease-fire.”
In a separate video taken by a KOCO news crew on the scene, a woman can be heard yelling, “He had dropped his f**king gun. He had dropped his f**king gun!”
“He came out with the gun in his hand and he did not follow officers’ instructions while coming out with the gun in his hand, ultimately he was shot,” MSgt. Gary Knight of the OKC Police Department said shortly after the shooting.
All of the officers involved were put on paid administrative leave following the incident.
(Credit: Daily Mail)
On Wednesday, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prate announced the charges against Officers Bethany Sears, Jared Barton, Corey Adams, John Skuta and Brad Pemberton. A sixth officer involved, Sgt. Sarah Carli, fired a less-than-lethal round and will not be charged, KOCO reported.
Also, Wyatt Cheatham, 17, has been charged with first-degree murder after telling police he was involved in the alleged armed robbery attempt but that he wasn’t with Rodriguez in the store. Under Oklahoma law, persons can be charged with first-degree murder if someone is killed during the commission of certain felonies.
John George, head of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, defended the officers.
“Officers must make life and death decisions in a split second, relying on their training. When an armed robbery suspect did not obey police commands, five officers perceived the same threat and simultaneously fired their weapons,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“A loss of life is always a tragedy and we know these officers did not take firing their weapons lightly. The OKC FOP stands by these officers and maintains they acted within the law,” George added.
Others are come out in defense of Cheatham.
“He needs to be charged appropriately, charged with the robbery of the store. Not murder,” said supporter Yolanda Meekins, according to KOMO.
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