(OKLAHOMA CITY) — An Oklahoma City man was fatally shot by police as neighbors shouted that the man could not hear officers’ commands to drop a metal pipe he was holding, police said.
The incident occurred Tuesday evening after an accident led officers to a house where Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was outside on the porch, Oklahoma City Police Capt. Bo Mathews said at a press conference Wednesday.
Officers were acting on information from a witness who told police where they could find a green truck allegedly involved in the accident, in which the truck hit something and drove off. No person was struck in the collision.
Police Lt. Matthew Lindsey arrived at the location identified by the witness and found a green truck allegedly matching the description from the accident parked there.
Sanchez was on the porch of the home when he advanced to the front yard holding what Mathews said was a pipe in his right hand.
The police officer called for backup, and another officer, Sgt. Christopher Barnes, arrived, after which both officers shouted to Sanchez to drop the pipe he was carrying as he proceeded forward, Mathews said.
The officers didn’t hear neighbors at the scene yelling to them that Sanchez couldn’t hear them, Mathews said.
“As he started going toward these officers with a pipe in his hand, the officers discharged their weapons,” Captain Mathews said.
Lindsey fired his taser at the suspect, and Barnes shot his gun, hitting Sanchez.
Mathews said Sanchez received medical attention after he was shot, but was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sanchez’s father, who had allegedly been the driver of the green truck in the accident, confirmed after the shooting that his son was deaf, Mathews said. The son was not involved, he said.
Barnes, the officer who used the gun, is on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, Mathews said.
ABC News affiliate KOCO in Oklahoma City obtained cellphone video from a neighbor of Sanchez who said the footage was taken moments after the shooting. The neighbor, Julio Rayos, told the station that he screamed at officers that Sanchez was deaf. Rayos said he believes Sanchez may have been confused by the encounter with police.
Rayos told The Oklahoman on Wednesday that in addition to being deaf, Sanchez was developmentally disabled and didn’t speak, communicating mainly through hand movements. Rayos said he believes Sanchez became frustrated by trying to communicate with the police.
“The guy does movements,” Rayos told the newspaper. “He don’t speak, he don’t hear, mainly it is hand movements. That’s how he communicates. I believe he was frustrated trying to tell them what was going on.”
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