Tulsa cop Craig Johnson who was shot in the head during routine traffic stop dies, second officer fights for life
TULSA, OKLAHOMA: A Tulsa police officer and father-of-two who was shot multiple times during a routine traffic stop this past week has passed away, authorities revealed.
Sgt. Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarekshan, of the Tulsa Police Department, had both been shot after they pulled over David Anthony Ware, 32, for expired paper tags on Monday, June 29, KTUL reported. Bodycam footage from the officers showed Ware arguing with the pair, and refusing to exit the vehicle when he was informed that it would likely be towed. When he continued to remain combative, one of the officers tried to tase the 32-year-old, who managed to pull out the prongs before becoming more belligerent. The officers then tried to use pepper spray to subdue him but were unsuccessful once again. As a last resort, they attempted to forcibly remove him from his car, at which point Ware retrieved a gun from under his seat and opened fire.
He shot both Johnson and Zarekshans several times as he sat in the car before stepping out of the vehicle and firing three more shots as he stood over one of the wounded policemen. On the afternoon of June 30, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin confirmed Johnson's death and said the officer, who had been a part of the department since 2005, leaves behind a wife, two young children, and his parents.
"He also leaves behind a bunch of brothers and sisters," Franklin said, referring to Johnson's fellow police officers. "I want to thank the Johnson family for sharing Sgt. Craig Johnson with us, for allowing him to be a part of our department, and for allowing him to serve this community."
Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum also paid tribute to the veteran officer and said there was no greater sacrifice. "In this moment of terrible loss for our city, I can’t help but think of John Chapter 15, Verse 13. 'No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friend'," Bynum said. "Sgt. Craig Johnson lost his life protecting the lives of every Tulsan." Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt also released a statement addressing the shooting and Johnson's death and said the officer will forever be remembered for his heroism, courage, and bravery.
"My heart breaks for the family of Sergeant Craig Johnson and his fellow officers with the Tulsa Police Department," Stitt said. "I ask Oklahomans to join the First Lady and me in continuing to pray for his family as well as for his fellow officers."
"My hope is that Sgt. Johnson is forever remembered for the heroism, courage, and bravery he displayed while protecting Tulsa for 15 years. We will also continue to pray for a full recovery for Officer Aurash Zarkeshan, who was injured in the same senseless act of violence. Our law enforcement officers need the support of their community now more than ever, and I encourage Oklahomans to find ways to show their support for those who keep them protected."
Zarekshan, a new officer who had just completed his training last month, is expected to survive his injuries.
Ware was arrested in the area of 31st and Garnett a short time after the shootings and is facing charges of shooting with intent to kill. His alleged accomplice, Matt Hall, 29, has also been taken into custody and is facing an accessory to a felony charge.