A routine traffic stop for an expired tag led to a man shooting two cops before fleeing, killing one and injuring the other.
David Anthony Ware, 33, is now facing the death penalty for charges on first-degree murder and attempted murder.
However, Ware’s sister is claiming Ware acted in self-defense because he was in fear for his life as the cops were trying to pull him from his car.
Dash and body cam footage released this week show one cop pepper spraying Ware repeatedly for not stepping out of the car while the other cop tasers him.
At one point as they are pulling him from his car, Ware reaches under his seat and pulls out a gun, shooting both Tulsa police officers, killing Sergeant Craig Johnson and critically injuring Aurash Zarkeshan. Johnson was the cop pepper spraying him.
An Oklahoma judge ordered the video released despite objections from Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin by insisting the public should not be allowed to “see the execution of a police officer.”
But now Ware’s attorney is accusing the chief of having misreported the facts about the shooting to paint his client as a “cold, calculated killer” by claiming Ware stood over a wounded cop and fired three more shots into him when the video does not show that.
According to The Frontier:
In the affidavit, Tulsa Police said Ware stood over an already wounded Johnson and fired three shots at him. Police chief Wendell Franklin, who was appointed to the position in January and became the city’s first Black police chief, held a press conference after the shooting and gave a similar description of Ware’s actions.
But Ware’s attorney, Kevin Adams, called the description inaccurate and said it was part of an attempt by the police department and district attorney’s office to paint Ware as a “cold, calculated killer.” Adams said he believed District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler intended to seek the death penalty against Ware and that if that were to happen, Oklahomans deserved to see for themselves how accurate the initial description of the encounter between police and Ware was.
Franklin opened Monday’s media conference by saying that criminals “have more rights” than citizens or police officers, and that the public “would never” see a criminal being executed, “but here we are watching the execution of a police officer. What kind of society is that?”
He said the discrepancies between the initial police report and what the video showed were not intentional deceptiveness, but instead a matter of officers quickly relaying what happened at the scene, a sort of game of telephone where the truth gets slightly distorted as it passes from officers to the public.
“We are as accurate as we can be, but realistically the discrepancies don’t matter,” Franklin said.
Tulsa police released a video that is longer than 15 minutes, showing officer Aurash Zarkeshan pulling Ware over after Ware pulled out in front of him from a side street.
Zarkeshan discovers Ware’s tag is expired and he does not have a drivers license although Ware identifies himself and provides his date-of-birth. The situation escalates when Zarkeshan orders Ware out of the car and he refuses.
For more than ten minutes, both cops repeatedly order him out of the car but he refuses. At one point, he calls his friend, Matthew Hall, to come pick him up. Ware hops in Hall’s car which drives away, leaving both cops on the ground with bullet wounds.
Ware was arrested the following day and has been incarcerated since. Hall has also been arrested as an accomplice to murder and has also been incarcerated since the shooting. In June, he attempted suicide in jail but failed.
Earlier this week, a third man, Jakob Garland, was arrested in connection with the incident for giving Ware the gun that he used. Ware was a felon and not legally allowed to possess a gun.
In July, when the judge was refusing to release the video, Ware’s sister, Ashley Melendy, said she believed her brother was acting in self-defense, according to KTUL.
Watch the shortened video below or the full-length video below or here.