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Police chief releases video of officers being shot, says video should stay in courtroom

Police Chief Wendell Franklin Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, discusses the release of video that shows two officers being shot after a traffic stop in June in Tulsa, Okla. (KTUL photo)

NOTE: This story contains a roughly 6-minute, edited version of video provided by police of the traffic stop and interaction with the suspect, David Ware. NewsChannel 8 has chosen to stop the video right before Ware shoots the officers. The entire incident – from Officer Aurash Zarkeshan pulling Ware over to the shooting that severely wounded Zarkeshan and claimed the life of police Sgt. Craig Johnson – lasted about 17 minutes.

This abbreviated, edited video should give you a good idea of what the officers encountered that night.

WHILE THIS VIDEO DOES NOT SHOW THE SHOOTING, WE ENCOURAGE VIEWER DISCRETION.

This video and the story are below.


TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Before the Tulsa Police Department released video of two officers being shot, Chief Wendell Franklin urged the public to avoid watching.

He said the public shouldn’t be able to “see the execution of a police officer.”

“What kind of society is that?” he said.

The video, recorded on Officer Aurash Zarkeshan’s patrol car camera and body-worn cameras on Zarkeshan and Sgt. Craig Johnson, shows the suspect shoot both officers after a traffic stop in the overnight hours of June 29.

Johnson died from his wounds.

Zarkeshan was severely wounded.


Franklin said this video “is the most incriminating piece of evidence that we have,” and he said it belongs in the courtroom, and not in the public’s view.

But the judge ordered the video’s release, and Franklin’s department is complying.

RELATED | Tulsa FOP reacts to judge's ruling to release video evidence from David Ware shooting

Franklin also dismissed reported inconsistencies between the video and the police report.

“Realistically, the discrepancies don't matter,” the chief said. “It doesn't matter if that suspect stood 1 foot in front of our officer, over our officer, and fired the fatal round, or if he was 6 feet or 7 feet back. Doesn't matter. Does not matter at all. Doesn't matter if he walked away or if he trotted or skipped or jogged or did cartwheels away from the scene. Doesn't matter. Two officers were gunned down.”

Franklin said the video shows the officers gave the suspect, David Ware, dozens of commands and had exhausted their nonlethal options – a stun gun and pepper spray – in an effort to get Ware out of the car.

He said the car had an expired tag, they needed to tow the car, and Ware was acting nervous. Franklin said the officers needed to get Ware out of the car to further their investigation.


The video also shows the alleged accomplice’s car arriving on scene after showing Ware calling for help.

The alleged accomplice, Matthew Hall, is accused of driving Ware away from the scene after the shooting.

Franklin said Zarkeshan originally pulled Ware over because of a wide turn that, combined with the time of night, could indicate an intoxicated driver.

Ware started shooting the officers 17 minutes after he was pulled over, according to the video.




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