Police officers fatally shot a man who reportedly had a gun inside a vehicle at a Tulsa hotel Monday. It was Oklahoma’s 17th fatal officer-involved shooting of 2018.
Tulsa Police Department Gang Unit officers were on patrol about 12:30 p.m. in the 8500 block of East 41st Street and spotted three men in a vehicle at the Extended Stay hotel, police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie said.
When officers approached the parked vehicle to talk with the driver, they saw a front-seat passenger described as a white man in his early 20s with “a gun in his hand,” and officers shot him, MacKenzie said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The two other occupants of the vehicle fled and were later apprehended and taken into custody, police said.
“They (officers) were just going to talk to them,” MacKenzie said. “They hadn’t really made contact when they saw the gun. The vehicle was just parked there, and officers were going to have a conversation with the driver of the vehicle.”
McKenzie said investigators could not clarify whether the man brandished the weapon or was just holding the firearm before he was shot.
She said the man did not fire shots at the officers. No other weapons were found at the scene, she said.
“There was no known issue at the time when officers made that contact,” she said about what prompted the encounter. “They were just going up there to have a conversation with these individuals.”
Investigators said officers were wearing body cameras during the shooting and that dash cam video also is available. Video will be released at a later date, police said.
Monday’s shooting is the sixth fatal officer-involved shooting by Tulsa police officers in the past 12 months and the second this year.
So far this year, 17 civilians have been fatally shot by law enforcement officers statewide. On Sunday, law enforcement officers fatally shot a man following a pursuit in Seminole County.
A database maintained by The Washington Post reports that 378 people nationwide were fatally shot by police in 2018.
Since 2007, the most fatal shootings of civilians statewide occurred in 2015, when 34 died, according to a Tulsa World database.
In 2016, 24 fatal officer-involved shootings occurred statewide.
All but one of the people shot in Oklahoma this year were males. Three of them were black; the remainder were white.
Eight of the 17 people fatally shot this year were armed with a gun. Four were armed with knives or a machete. One was armed with a baseball bat, and another shot a pellet gun at officers before being fatally shot.
Another drove his vehicle toward an officer’s vehicle, while another physically assaulted an officer before being fatally shot. In one case, no weapon was reported on the deceased at the time of the shooting.
Tulsa police were most recently involved in an officer-involved shooting on Jan. 22. On that day, officers shot 40-year-old Joseph E. Knight, who had been holding a shotgun to his head and later refused commands from officers to drop the weapon.
Monday’s fatal shooting was the city’s 14th homicide of 2018.
Staff writer Curtis Killman contributed to this story.