An Oklahoma City police officer fatally shot a deaf man, 35-year old Magdiel Sanchez, around 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday night, despite cries from Sanchez’s neighbors that he was deaf and could not hear the officer.
Officers Matthew Lindsey and Christopher Barnes say that Sanchez was approaching them with a 2-foot metal pipe, and he failed to heed their orders to drop the weapon.
Police were investigating a hit-and-run that occurred at a nearby intersection, according to the New York Times. A truck involved in the accident had arrived at Sanchez’s home and was parked in the driveway.
Lt. Lindsey arrived first on the scene and called for back-up when he saw Sanchez on his porch. Lindsey drew his Taser and ordered Sanchez to drop the pipe and get on the ground. Sgt. Barnes arrived quickly after the confrontation started and drew his gun on Sanchez.
According to NPR, at least nine neighbors were yelling at the officers that Sanchez was deaf and could not hear them.
One neighbor, Julio Rayos, came outside with his wife and 12-year-old daughter, pleading with the officers not to shoot.
The Times quotes Rayos’s daughter saying “Don’t kill him, he’s deaf. Don’t do it!”
Both officers fired on Sanchez, despite the screams, when Sanchez was about 15 feet away from them. According to Rayos, more than six shots were fired.
Sanchez was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.
Rayos and Jolie Guebara, another neighbor, told reporters that Sanchez always carried the metal pipe with him, using it when he went walking to scare away stray dogs and incorporating it with hand motions to communicate. Sanchez may have been using it to try to communicate to the officers before he was shot.
Barnes has been place on paid administrative leave and the shooting is being investigated as a criminal case.
Sanchez had no criminal record, and was not in the truck involved in the hit-and-run. The truck was being driven by Sanchez’s father, who remained in the vehicle during the confrontation, says the Times.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: September 25, 2017