5 Oklahoma City officers charged in deadly shooting of 15-year old robbery suspect

U.S.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Five officers who shot and killed a 15-year-old armed robbery suspect are now facing first-degree manslaughter charges, according to officials with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

On Wednesday, NewsNation affiliate KFOR obtained body camera footage and security footage from an officer-involved shooting that happened back in November when OKCPD officers were responding to an armed robbery call.

“Get on the ground,” officers are heard yelling on body camera video.

“Don’t do that. Get on the ground,” an officer yelled.

“Drop it,” another officer is heard yelling.

In the surveillance video, 15-year-old Stavian Rodriguez is seen climbing out of the drive-thru window holding a gun.

The video then shows Rodriguez drop the gun and then reach toward his pants before being fatally shot by five officers.

Officials say he refused to follow commands and was shot by five officers on the scene. He was rushed to University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.

Rodriguez’s mother filed a lawsuit against the City of Oklahoma City, demanding the release of body camera footage of the deadly incident.

Rodriguez was shot 13 times, according to the autopsy report that KFOR obtained on Wednesday.

The five officers, Jared Barton, Corey Adams, John Skuta, Bethany Sears and Brad Pemberton are all now facing a first-degree manslaughter charge.

A sixth officer, Sarah Carli, who fired a less lethal weapon, was not charged.

While police said Stavian refused to comply with their commands, making suspicious hand movements, eye-witnesses told KFOR that he appeared to be pulling up his pants after he dropped the gun.

No other weapons were found on his person.

According to the court documents, after dropping the gun, Stavian “put his left hand in his rear left pocket and his right hand in his front pocket or waistline.” 

That’s when Officer Sarah Carli allegedly fired a less lethal round, and the other five “all unnecessarily fire lethal rounds.” 

The documents allege Stavian had no other weapons other than the firearm. 

The documents also read, “A cell phone was recovered from the left rear pocket he had his hand in at the time he was shot.”

The five officers are currently on paid administrative leave.

Back in December, Rodriguez’s accomplice, 17-year-old Wyatt Cheatham, was also charged with murder, because he was a party in a crime that resulted in death, according to investigators.

From the Oklahoma City Police Department:

The incident was investigated and presented to the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office for review. 

On March 9, 2021, the department was informed that the District Attorney would be filing the charge of Manslaughter in the First Degree on the following officers, who discharged their firearms during the incident:

Officer Bethany Sears (5 ½ years of service)
Officer Jared Barton (4 ½ years of service)
Officer Corey Adams (3 years of service)
Officer John Skuta (2 ½ years of service)
Officer Brad Pemberton (3 years of service)

All the officers are currently on paid administrative leave. The District Attorney’s Office did not file charges against Sergeant Sarah Carli, who fired a less lethal weapon. 

“Officers must make life and death decisions in a split second, relying on their training. When an armed robbery suspect did not obey police commands, five officers perceived the same threat and simultaneously fired their weapons.  

A loss of life is always a tragedy and we know these officers did not take firing their weapons lightly. The OKC FOP stands by these officers and maintains they acted within the law.”  

JOHN GEORGE, PRESIDENT OF THE OKLAHOMA FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE

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