TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office released new details about a deadly shooting involving a reserve deputy in Tulsa on Thursday.
TCSO said investigators are still investigating the shooting. Eric Courtney Harris was killed Thursday in an altercation with a reserve sheriff’s deputy. The deputy was identified as 73-year-old Robert Bates.
They said their preliminary investigation showed that Bates thought he had what he believed was the Taser from his tactical carrier. TCSO said he believed he was using the Taser when he inadvertently discharged his service weapon, firing one round which struck Harris.
TSCO said the task force initiated an investigation into meth on March 26 and that led them to Harris, a convicted felon who, in the course of the investigation, offered to sell a sawed-off shotgun and other guns to the undercover reserve deputies.
They said on April 2, Harris agreed to meet the task force member at 10 a.m. at the Dollar General parking lot in the 2000 block of North Harvard Avenue and sell him a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, along with 300 rounds of ammunition.
TCSO officials said after the transaction an arrest team of deputies approached the car to arrest Harris, but he got out of the car and confronted the deputies. They said he then ran from them, and they saw him reach his waistband, which they said made them concerned.
They said Bates attempted to restrain Harris but as he continued to resist arrest, Harris refused to pull his left arm out from underneath his body where his hand was near his waistband. They said that’s when Bates grabbed what he thought was his Taser and discharged it to subdue Harris.
Harris was taken to a hospital and died just after 11 a.m. Thursday.
They said preliminary information revealed Harris was possibly under the influence of PCP, by his own admission to medical personnel at the scene. The medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of death.
Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said investigators will continue to compile information and conduct interviews into yesterday’s event.
Bates will be interviewed by investigators on Monday.