Tulsa, OK – The Tulsa Police Department has released bodycam footage of a gas station shootout that ensued after a man opened fire on police (video below).
The incident occurred on July 3, after two Tulsa police officers stopped to speak with a man and a woman parked in a minivan at a motel across from a QuikTrip convenience store at approximately 1:15 p.m., Tulsa World reported.
The male driver “terminated” the conversation and drove away from the officers, Tulsa Police Officer Jeanne MacKenzie said.
The officers ran the minivan’s registration tags and learned that they came back to a different vehicle, so they initiated a traffic stop at the nearby gas station, police said.
“We did not know he had a firearm on him,” Tulsa Police Sergeant Shane Tuell said, according to Tulsa World. “Had we known that individual had a firearm, we would have cleared the lot and backed off.”
The officers spoke with the female driver but the backseat passenger, later identified as 34-year-old John Chatman, refused to exit the vehicle, according to KOTV.
Bodycam footage showed the officers as they spoke with the woman and Chatman near the QuikTrip gas pumps.
“He’s getting ready to hit you with the pepper balls – a lot of them,” one officer warned Chatman as the woman sat on the floorboard inside the van’s sliding door. “You step out here, you go in handcuffs, you can give her a kiss.”
“We can do this the hard way, or we can do it that way,” he added.
Another officer ordered the woman to step away from the vehicle and she complied after a moment of hesitation.
“Just shoot me!” Chatman began yelling at the officers.
“No! Get out!” the officer replied as they pushed the woman out of the way.
“We tried every option we could in that close proximity to get him to get out,” Sgt. Tuell told Tulsa World. “At the point when he says, ‘Just shoot me,’ it was apparent he was not going to be getting out of the vehicle.”
The second officer then stepped forward and aimed his less-lethal weapon inside the minivan, the video showed.
“Pepper ball, pepper ball, pepper ball,” he calmly announced just before he fired multiple less-lethal rounds at Chatman.
Police said Chatman responded by pulling a weapon and shooting at the officers, KOTV reported.
“As soon as Sgt. Parsons deployed the pepper balls, Chatman obtained a .32-caliber revolver handgun … and fired four times,” an investigator wrote in an affidavit, according to Tulsa World.
The officers returned fire and quickly backed away from the minivan to find cover, the video showed.
“Drop the gun!” officers repeatedly commanded from behind cement pillars surrounding the pumps. “Subject is down, subject’s been hit.”
“I’m f--king hit I think,” one officer said.
Police later confirmed that the officer sustained a gunshot wound to the thigh, Tulsa World reported.
KOTV identified the injured officer as Tulsa Police Sergeant Mike Parsons.
A fellow officer pulled him to safety and the sergeant “continued to command the scene after he was shot,” Sgt. Tuell told Tulsa World. “I can tell you I don’t know a whole lot of people with that work ethic.”
Chatman was hit in the chest at least one time during the shootout, KTUL reported.
He remains hospitalized and was charged on Wednesday with possession of a firearm after a felony conviction, three counts of shooting with intent to kill, obstruction, driving with an improper tag, and driving under suspension, Tulsa World reported.
“There’s nothing about this case that suggests in any way, shape, or form that the actions of these officers out there were not fully justified,” District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler told KOTV. “This is clearly a circumstance in that the officers were faced with a very volatile situation.
Chatman had previously served prison sentences for distribution of a controlled substance and second-degree burglary, according to Tulsa World.
Tulsa police have not released the full names of the officers involved in the shooting in order to allow time for family notifications and to provide officers with the opportunity to temporarily relocate for their own safety, Sgt. Tuell told Tulsa World.
Officers often receive threats following shooting incidents, he added.
You can watch bodycam footage of the gunfight below: