TPD: Deadly Force Used 3 Times Since January
Tulsa Police report three officer-involved shootings, already in 2014. Two of those cases were deadly.
"It seems like over the past five years, particularly, it's escalated." Paul Dunn is a pastor and community activist. As president of the Tulsa Community Action Group, he points to what he sees as a growing problem, gripping the city. "Instead of people communicating and trying to work out their differences, it seems like they're just turning to guns." Dunn says violence has taken hold of the Tulsa metro.
Tulsa Police say, those instances of violence have put their officers in positions where 'life or death' decisions must be made. "Every day, we come to work and we don't know -- We don't know who's going to want to hurt us, we don't know who's going to want to hurt another citizen, and that's exactly why we're here - to protect our citizens and to protect ourselves, and our fellow officers," said Officer Jillian Roberson.
In four months, Tulsa Police have been forced to fire their weapons at suspects three times, with two of those cases ending with fatalities.
Roberson says, that may sound excessive, but it's something officers do not take lightly. "It may be that we have officer-involved shootings that are close together, it may be that we don't have an officer-involved shooting for many months. I mean, there's just no way to predict that."
While police say, their first priority is to protect and serve, Dunn sympathizes with officers working to curtail the violence he, so desperately, wants off the streets. "If it's a criminal shooting a criminal or a police officer having to discharge his weapon, it has to be investigated, so we could at least try to get the validity of what really happened," Dunn said.
The Tulsa Police Department emphasized that officers only fire their weapons when they find themselves in imminent danger.
Dunn says several 'Stop the Violence' rallies are planned for the coming weeks.