A deaf man was shot and killed by Oklahoma City police Tuesday night during an investigation of a hit-and-run incident.
The victim, 35-year-old Magdiel Sanchez, was sitting on the porch of his father’s home in Oklahoma City when officers approached the house, requesting information about the incident, which involved his father.
Sanchez was holding a two-foot-long pipe with a leather strap, which his neighbors told AP he would use at night to scare off dogs. Allegedly feeling threatened, the officer at the scene, Lt. Matthew Lindsey, called for backup. He was then joined by Sgt. Chris Barnes.
"When the other unit arrived, verbal commands were being given to this individual to drop the weapon and get on the ground," Captain Bo Mathews said in a press conference.
Witnesses and neighbors screamed to the officers that Sanchez couldn’t hear them, Mathews said. All the while, Sanchez continued to move closer.
Both officers attacked him. The first tased him and the second shot him several times.
Sanchez was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mathews said the case is being investigated as a homicide and that those officers involved were not wearing body cameras, but that the department was in the process of acquiring them. He went on to say that he wasn’t sure why they didn’t respond to the neighbors’ screams.
“In those situations, very volatile situations when you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision, or you could really lock into just the person that has the weapon that made the threat against you,” Matthews told reporters. “They very well could not have heard everybody yelling around them.”
"The guy does movements," neighbor Julop Rayos told NewsOk. "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.”
"I don't think they had to shoot him," he added.
Earlier, the victim’s father had been involved in a hit-and-run incident, fleeing the scene before reporting the occurrence. Sanchez was not in the vehicle at the time. Mathews said that although the car accident did not kill anyone, he could not confirm whether injuries were suffered.
Sanchez’s father confirmed that his son was deaf and officials report that the deceased man had no criminal history.
The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.