2019-09-02 ne-shootingsp

OSBI is investigating after a fatal officer-involved shooting in Sand Springs near 56th Street south and 145th West Avenue on Sunday night. STETSON PAYNE/Tulsa World

Sand Springs Police released body camera video September 9 of a fatal officer-involved shooting from September 1.

The footage showed the suspect, later identified as Robert Desjarlais Jr., 49, driving toward the officer, Lt. Kevin O’Keefe, who was standing near his patrol vehicle.

Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter said O’Keefe ordered Desjarlais to stop his car multiple times before firing as Desjarlais’ car hit the patrol vehicle around 8:30 p.m. September 1 in the 5600 block of S. 145th W. Avenue.

Carter said the door of the patrol vehicle took the brunt of the force and, while O’Keefe was taken to the hospital as a precaution, he was not seriously injured. Desjarlais was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the OSBI.

He said the department waited to release the video footage until September 9 because Desjarlais’ family requested they not release it until after his funeral.

Carter said O’Keefe remains suspended with pay until the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) completes their report on the incident. He said O’Keefe may return to light duty, such as desk or dispatch work, once the report is complete.

The OSBI will present their report to the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office and they will make the final determination about any possible charges.

Carter said the Sand Springs Police Department has a policing plan approved by the council each year for the last four years that focuses on use-of-force training, de-escalation training, verbal skills training, crisis-intervention team training and was the first agency to request a memorandum of understanding with OSBI to investigate their officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths in 2016. The department also includes citizens on their use-of-force review board.

“All these items and many more were an effort to make it clear that we are transparent and accountable to our public. I’ll end with this—I repeat, our condolences to the family of Mr. Robert Desjarlais Jr. I do not know why he made the choices he did that day and I will not speculate about it. I will also say that we’re thankful that Lt. O’Keefe was not killed or seriously injured that day,” he said.

This is the first fatal encounter in the department since 2015.

Rachel Snyder 918-581-8315

rachel.snyder@sandspringsleader.com