Stavian Rodriguez shooting: Did five Oklahoma City police officers go overboard in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy suspected of attempted armed robbery of a convenience store?
Five Oklahoma City police officers have been charged with first-degree manslaughter after a 15-year-old boy was fatally shot, moments after releasing a gun he was in possession of after allegedly attempting to rob a gas station convenience store.
Stavian Rodriguez was shot 13 times by officers responding to reports of an attempted armed robbery at a convenience store on November 23 last year.
The officers who have been charged after firing lethal rounds have been identified as: Bethany Sears, Jared Barton, Corey Adams, John Skuta and Brad Pemberton.
If convicted, they could face up to life in prison.
A sixth officer, Sarah Carli, was the first to fire a ‘less-lethal’ weapon and will not be charged, cops said.
‘Show us your hands, sir. Nobody has to get hurt,‘
Surveillance video obtained by KOCO appears to show Rodriguez attempting to cooperate with police when he was shot.
‘Show us your hands, sir. Nobody has to get hurt,‘ cops tell Rodriguez over a speaker.
Rodriguez is seen climbing out of the drive-thru window with his hands raised, as cops scream: ‘Hands!’
The boy then slowly moves his hand to his waistband and lifts his shirt to show cops that he is removing the weapon tucked into his jeans.
‘Get face down on the ground,’ cops order as Rodriguez removes the weapon and drops it to the floor.
‘Oh, don’t do that!’ a male officer says to the kid as a female cop orders him to get on the ground and ‘drop it.’
Rodriguez then reaches in his pocket in what appears to be an attempt to remove something else, as cops scream and multiple gun fire shots are heard.
Did police go overboard?
Eventually, a commanding officer orders the cops to ‘cease fire.’
Another video taken by KOCO’s news crew, which was at the scene when the shooting happened, shows another view of the shooting.
‘He had dropped his f**king gun. He had dropped his f**King gun!’ a woman’s voice is heard screaming.
Master Sergeant Gary Knight told the outlet immediately after the incident that: ‘He came out with the gun in his hand, he did not follow officer’s instructions while he came out with the gun in his hand. Ultimately, he was shot.’
Oklahoma City District Attorney David Prater has charged five of the responding officers with first-degree manslaughter.
After being shot with a 40 mm ‘less-lethal’ round, five officers ‘unnecessarily fire lethal rounds at Rodriguez, striking him numerous times and inflicting mortal wounds,’ Prater’s investigator, Willard Paige, wrote in an affidavit.
Life or death split second decisions
An autopsy determined Rodriguez incurring 13 gunshot wounds, Paige wrote. Officials have not yet revealed which officer fired the fatal shot.
John George, president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, has since defended the officers’ actions.
‘Officers must make life and death decisions in a split second, relying on their training. When an armed robbery suspect did not obey police commands, five officers perceived the same threat and simultaneously fired their weapons,’ he said.
‘A loss of life is always a tragedy and we know these officers did not take firing their weapons lightly. The OKC FOP stands by these officers and maintains they acted within the law.’
The officers have been on administrative leave since the shooting.
Police also released the officers’ body camera footage after the boy’s mother sued for it last month.
Teen accomplice charged with felony murder
Another boy, 17-year-old Wyatt Allen Cheatham, has also has been charged with first-degree murder for Rodriguez’s death after he admitted to being involved in the robbery but was there when cops killed Rodriguez, KOCO reported.
A suspect can be booked with felony murder charges in Oklahoma if someone dies while certain felonies are being committed according to state statute.
Cheatham is still being held without bond in the Oklahoma County Jail, where his supporters have rallied multiple times claiming he should be charged with robbery – not murder, according to KOCO.
‘He needs to be charged appropriately, charged with the robbery of the store. Not murder,’ supporter Yolanda Meekins said.
Attorneys have not been listed for the officers as of Wednesday. Currently, there are no dates set for the case.