Deputies Feared for Lives as They Confronted Courthouse Shooter
The three deputies who were responding to a gunman outside the downtown Tulsa Courthouse testified today they feared for their lives as they entered the plaza. The deputies are on the witness stand today as the jury trial of Andrew Joseph Dennehy continues. Additionally, an officer with the Tulsa Police Department appeared in the courtroom Thursday afternoon. Dennehy is accused of opening fire in the courthouse plaza in March 2012 and injuring a deputy. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors began presenting their case today with testimony from the deputies that responded to the scene. Deputy David Fortenberry said he feared for his life as he went outside to the plaza. He yelled at the gunman to put his gun down, but he didn't listen. Fortenberry was shot in the hands before retreating inside the courthouse. Deputy Stephen Culley testified he took cover as he saw the gunman start to aim. Culley and Corporal Dennis Miller returned fire after he heard Fortenberry yell that he had been shot.Allen Smallwod, Dennehy's attorney, asked the deputies whether or not the officers that work the courthouse's security checkpoints are armed. They answered that they are not. He alluded that that fact supports the theory that Dennehy was hoping to die that day. He shot at officers that could return fire.During the court hearing prosecutors also brought forward a janitor who works for Tulsa County. He stated that he was leading a group of people performing community service near the plaza that day and saw Dennehy. He said he "looked angry." However, others described his demeanor as calm. Prosecutors asked several witnesses if it ever appeared like Dennehy was being chased. None of them said that appeared to be the case.Jurors also heard from a man driving in the area who said he saw Dennehy fire three shots in the air as he crossed Denver to reach the plaza. John Fancher was another witness later in the day. He works at the Tulsa Library. He testified that he heard gunshots and then took pictures of the scene as it unfolded outside. Jurors then heard from a medical professional about the injuries.