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Police Release Footage of Fatal Shooting of Tulsa Police Officer

Graphic body and dash-camera footage that shows the shooting of two police officers was released earlier this week.

The Tulsa Police Department released the video showing the encounter leading up to the shooting of Sergeant Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan.

According to Public Radio Tulsa, the encounter began with a routine traffic stop on June 26, 2020 around 3 a.m. Officer Zarkeshan stopped David Ware after he failed to yield, made an illegal left turn, and was operating the vehicle with expired tags.

During the stop, Ware identified himself but told Zarkeshan he was unable to find his driver’s license.

After a few minutes, Johnson arrives at the scene as backup. Both officers then approached Ware and asked him to step out of the vehicle.

Ware then became combative, telling the officers, “I’m not stepping out of my car.”

He then called someone named “Matt,” gave the person his location, and asked the person to come get him, as he explained that his rights were being violated.

Ware is then tased and pepper-sprayed twice, but still managed to struggle with the officers. Shots were fired. Ware fired multiple times at Zarkeshan before he turns back to shoot Johnson again, appearing to shoot him in the head, and then Johnson goes silent and still.

Ware then ran to Matt Hall’s car, his accused getaway driver, who pulled up moments before Ware started firing at the officers.

Johnson was pronounced dead from his injuries, and Zarkeshan was critically wounded in the shootout.

Ware’s attorney, Kevin Adams, had been pushing for the release of the video footage over what he called “discrepancies” between statements made by TPD and actual events. One of the discrepancies Adams highlighted was that Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin claimed Ware “slowly” walked away from the crime scene, negatively impacting how his client is characterized.

“Some have tried to paint a picture of deception, that what we have told you is deceptive. In no way is it deceptive,” Franklin said during a press conference on Monday. “Sometimes, everything that we get has gone through several people, and may not be totally accurate, but we are accurate as we can be.”

“Realistically, the discrepancies don’t matter,” Franklin continued.

Ware has been charged with murder for the shooting death of Johnson and shooting with intent to kill Zarkeshan. Hall is charged with accessory to murder and accessory to a felony. They are both set to be arraigned on October 5.

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