ADA, Okla. — It was a case that stunned residents in a small Oklahoma city earlier this year. A resident told police he shot and killed his neighbor to keep the man from drowning two young children.
On Thursday, a little more than a month after the shooting, officials announced the case is closed and the Pontotoc County district attorney ruled the shooting was a “justifiable use of deadly force under Oklahoma law.”
On June 2, David Cash Freeman rushed to a neighbor’s home in Ada after a 12-year-old girl ran to his house for help, according to KFOR-TV.
When he arrived at the girl's home, investigators say he found Leland Foster attempting to drown his 3-month-old twins in a bathtub, while holding a knife and threatening their mother. That's when Freeman shot and killed Foster.
"Mr. Freeman reported that even after firing two shots, he still considered the decedent to be a threat observing him to [be] armed with the knife and responding to the cries of the mother to help her because she felt the children were going to die, and viewing the decedent's evil intent expressed in his facial expression, he felt compelled to fire the third shot to attempt to get past this violent man to render aid and prevent the man from getting back up to harm anyone anymore," the district attorney's office said.
The mother of the children also credited Freeman with saving their lives, according to the investigative report.
"The neighbor saved their life and that she was glad that he did or they would have all been dead," according to the report. "Leland was going to drown the babies and the knife was meant for her."
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Freeman told KFOR that when he saw what was happening in the bathroom, he did what he had to do to save the babies.
However, he added he was concerned that he could be in trouble.
Police questioned and released Freeman, but the district attorney was tasked with determining if the shooting was a criminal act.
While the case was being investigated, Ada residents appeared to overwhelmingly support Freeman.
"They better not file charges on that guy," said Kathy Hart, who was dining in downtown Ada. "Because, he protected two innocent babies that couldn't protect themselves. How can he be guilty of anything? He's a hero. He should not be in trouble."
"Even though a life was lost and that's tragic in any case, in this case, two lives were saved that were innocent," James Williams said. "He would be a hero in my book."
Oklahoma law allows for what is known as "justifiable homicide," defined by "the lawful defense of such person or of another, when the person using force reasonably believes such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another."
On Thursday, the district attorney also praised the Ada Police Department, adding the shooting was a tragic situation but the loss of life was necessary.