Oklahoma cops fatally shot a developmentally disabled and deaf man who was 15 ft. away from them after he failed to comply with officers’ commands Tuesday night.
Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was Tasered before he was shot dead by Oklahoma City cops. Lt. Matthew Lindsey and Sgt. Christopher Barnes after they claim he moved towards them with a metal pipe.
Neighbors said Sanchez commonly carried a pipe due to stray dogs in the area.
Sanchez’s neighbors frantically screamed at the officers during the shooting, telling them he was deaf and unable to hear their orders.
“We were screaming that he can’t hear,” Julio Rayos told The Oklahoman.
Sanchez was not only deaf, he also could not speak.
Captain Bo Matthews admitted at news conference Tuesday night that witnesses were yelling, “he can’t hear you” before the officers fired at Sanchez, but said the officers had tunnel vision after perceiving the metal pipe as a threat to their safety, causing them to fear for their lives.
“In those situations, very volatile situations, you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision, or you can really lock in to just the person that has the weapon that’d be the threat against you,” Mathews added.
“I don’t know exactly what the officers were thinking at that point.”
According to Matthews, who also acts as Oklahoma City Police’s public information officer, Lindsay and Barnes were investigating a reported hit-and-run incident at around 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
A witness told Lt. Lindsey the address where the vehicle responsible for the hit-and-run had gone. Sanchez was on the porch when Lindsey arrive on the scene.
Lindsey confronted Sanchez and called for back up.
Sgt. Barnes responded on-scene shortly after.
Matthews stated during his press conference that Lindsey had his Taser drawn and Barnes had his gun drawn when Sanchez walked from the porch and walked towards Barnes.
As Sanchez advanced, holding a metal pipe, both Lindsey and Barnes fired around five or six bullets, fatally striking him.
Sanchez was pronounced dead shortly after emergency personnel arrived on the scene.
Afterwards, the investigation determined it was allegedly Sanchez’s father driving the vehicle used in the suspected hit-and-run incident.
Sanchez’s father said he son wasn’t in his vehicle when he “struck something and drove off”.
According to the Associated Press, Sanchez’s close neighbor Jolie Guebara said Sanchez was commonly seen walking around with a stick in his hand “because there’s a lot of stray dogs” in the neighborhood.
Guebara added Sanchez communicated with her and her husband through written notes.
According to another neighbor, Julio Rayos, reported Sanchez never spoke and only communicated with hand gestures.
“The guy does movements,” Rayos told The Oklahoman. “He don’t speak, he don’t hear, mainly it is hand movements. That’s how he communicates.”
“That’s how he communicates. I believe he was frustrated trying to tell them what was going on.”
Some Oklahoma City police wear body cameras, but despite their rank neither Lindsey or Barnes were wearing them at the time they shot Sanchez, who had no criminal history.
Internal affairs is investigating the shooting as a homicide, as all police involved-shootings are investigated.