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Saturday 23 June 2018

Man shot dead by police in Oklahoma City was deaf

Officers shot and Tasered the man
Officers shot and Tasered the man

Oklahoma City police officers who opened fire on a man who was approaching them while holding a metal pipe apparently did not hear witnesses who shouted that the man was deaf, the department said.

Police captain Bo Mathews said 35-year-old Magdiel Sanchez was not obeying the officers' commands before one shot him with a gun and the other with a Taser on Tuesday.

He said witnesses had shouted, "he can't hear you" before the officers fired, but the officers did not hear them.

Mr Sanchez died at the scene. The officer who fired the gun, Sgt Chris Barnes, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Capt Mathews said the officers were investigating a reported hit-and-run.

He said a witness told Lt Matthew Lindsey the address where the vehicle responsible for the hit-and-run had gone, and that Mr Sanchez was on the porch when Lt Lindsey arrived.

He said Mr Sanchez was holding the metal pipe, which had a leather loop on one end.

Lt Lindsey called for backup, and Sgt Barnes arrived. When Lt Lindsey fired his Taser and Sgt Barnes fired his gun, Mr Sanchez was about 15ft away from them.

Capt Mathews said Mr Sanchez's father, who was driving the hit-and-run vehicle, confirmed after the shooting that his son was deaf.

He said Mr Sanchez was not in the vehicle when his father drove off.

Neighbour Jolie Guebara said Mr Sanchez used notes to communicate with her and her husband. She said he often carried a stick to ward off stray dogs when he walked at night.

Police initially said Mr Sanchez was carrying a stick, but Capt Mathews said on Wednesday it was a metal pipe with a leather loop on one end.

AP

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