TULSA, Okla. — Police say a 73-year-old reserve deputy who killed a fleeing suspect Thursday thought he was holding a Taser, not a real firearm, when he pulled the trigger.
Bob Bates, who serves as an unpaid reserve staffer with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, was working with full officers during a sting operation, Tulsa World reported. Officers believed that the suspect, 44-year-old Eric Harris, had illegal guns in his possession.
As officers tried to arrest Harris, he allegedly fought back and tried to run. Bates said he thought the saw the suspect reaching for his waistband to draw a gun, so he reached for his own Taser in an attempt to help officers.
However, Bates actually drew a handgun and fatally shot the suspect, police said.
Police declined to say whether the slain suspect was actually armed at the time.