An Oklahoma City, Oklahoma police officer fatally shot Madgiel Sanchez, who is deaf, on Sept. 19 despite desperate pleas from neighbors.
Sanchez was holding a metal pipe, could not hear police commands to drop it, and was subsequently executed, notes The New York Times.
Sanchez was outside his home when police came to the scene to investigate a hit-and-run accident.
According to police, the cops ordered Sanchez off his own front porch and demanded that he drop the two-foot-long pipe he was holding.
Police and a witness said that Sanchez could not understand the police commands, walked towards the police and was allegedly waiving the pipe.
Julio Rayos, a neighbor, his wife and their 12-year-old daughter all screamed to the police that Sanchez was deaf. About six other neighbors also told the cops that Sanchez could not hear.
Despite knowing that Sanchez was deaf, one cop shot him with a Taser, while another cop killed him with a handgun.
Rayos said: “They seemed like they just came to shoot him. It happened so quickly.”
According to Capt. Bo Mathews, a spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department, the officer who used the Taser was Lt. Matthew Lindsey, and the cop who executed Sanchez was Sgt. Christopher Barnes.
Mathews said the police did not know yet why one officer pulled out his Taser while the other had his handgun.
Rayos said that Sanchez always carried a pipe with him for protection and used the pipe to communicate with people.
Mathews said the shooting was being investigated and that Barnes had been placed on paid administrative leave; Lindsey will remain on active duty.
Mathews blamed the shooting on possible “tunnel vision”:
You can get tunnel vision or just get locked in on the person with the weapon. I don’t know what the officers were thinking. They very well could not have heard everyone yelling around them.
Mathews said that police had been told that a pickup truck involved in a hit-and-run crash had fled to the home. Mathews said the truck was driven by Sanchez’s father and that Sanchez was not involved in the accident.