WAGONER — A man who was killed last month by a Wagoner police officer told the officer “You’re gonna have to kill me” and shouted a racial slur shortly before being shot, and he was not armed despite the officer’s initial belief that he was, body camera footage released Monday reveals.
Andrew Henson, 25, was shot multiple times early June 7 at the corner of Southwest 13th Street and Polk Avenue. Officials said the shooting occurred after Henson rammed Officer Robert Reynolds’ patrol car multiple times before clipping the front of the vehicle when he tried to force Reynolds off the road. The shooting is the first one by a Wagoner police officer since August 2011, Wagoner Police Chief Bob Haley said during a Monday news conference.
At the time of the incident, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said Henson made a “threatening move” at the officer but did not elaborate.
Police body camera footage shows Henson turning toward the officer with both arms extended, which police said Monday was “in a manner consistent with holding and pointing a gun.” Henson yells, “You’re gonna have to kill me n-----” at Reynolds, who is white. The officer then fired at him five times — four in quick succession and a fifth after Henson fell to his knees but was still moving.
Reynolds had been outside of his patrol car for about 10 seconds before shooting Henson, the footage shows. The police department in its initial statements did not make clear to media whether Henson had been armed at the time he died.
On the video, Reynolds can be heard after the scene was cordoned off, telling another officer: “I go to transition from pistol to Taser. He turns around, says ‘You’re going to have to f---ing kill me, points at me. I fire four to five rounds, I believe. I didn’t count ’em. Video was recording the whole thing. (Wagoner Police Lt.) Donnie (Cox) searched him. There’s no f---ing weapon.”
The city of Wagoner released footage from Reynolds’ and Cox’s body cameras during the news conference. Haley said Cox has returned to work after being on administrative leave, and Reynolds remains on leave pending OSBI’s probe into the incident.
“He was requested to assist a pursuit,” Haley said of Reynolds. “He did pursue the vehicle. Once the pursuit ended, he exited his vehicle. He gave commands as to what he expected Mr. Henson to do. Mr. Henson failed to comply with the commands he was given, and (Reynolds) acted to what he perceived.”
After the shooting, Cox and another deputy, who appears to be Lt. John Dilliner, comfort Reynolds, telling him “It’s all right. There wasn’t nothing you could do.” Reynolds, breathing heavily, responds, “He f---ing pointed at me.”
Dilliner initiated a traffic stop on Henson’s white SUV at Southwest 15th Street and Polk Avenue at 11:43 p.m. June 6. He conducted a records check that revealed Henson had a felony burglary warrant from Mississippi. Family members told the Tulsa World he lived there before moving to Wagoner.
Six minutes into the stop, Dilliner attempted to detain Henson, who fled north on Polk Avenue. The pursuit exceeded speeds of 100 mph, and officers said Henson made a U-turn and drove at Reynolds and Cox, who took “evasive action” to avoid crashing. Henson then drove toward Dilliner’s patrol vehicle, and Dilliner fired three shots through the windshield but did not hit Henson.
Police said Henson tried to force Reynolds’ car off the road, culminating in him swerving in front of the patrol car and clipping the front. Henson’s vehicle then spun out and rolled, coming to rest at Southwest 13th and Polk.
Once the vehicles were stopped, Reynolds commanded Henson to “Stop where you’re at and show me your hands,” which he said Henson disobeyed. Reynolds said Henson exited through the rear of his vehicle and turned toward him, causing him to open fire five seconds later.
Cox’s body camera shows Reynolds firing the final shot at Henson, who was on his knees at the time. Reynolds, who still had his gun pointed at Henson despite him lying still, told Cox, “I don’t know if he’s got a gun. He pointed at me. I got him covered.”
“The subject was unarmed. Looks like a suicide-by-cop deal, to be honest with you, because he pointed to his waistband and was pointing at Robert,” Cox says to another officer.
Reynolds can be seen toward the end of Cox’s video shaking his head multiple times, chugging a Gatorade and asking Cox, “Why didn’t he just stop?”
“Well, who knows? We don’t even know why he’s running,” Cox tells him. “You did exactly what you had to do.”