Tulsa Police

Cities the size of Tulsa saw a 31% increase in murder last year, and in some places that trend is continuing in 2021.

 

So far this year, though, homicides are down in Tulsa. Brandon Watkins is a lieutenant at Tulsa Police Department.

 

“So far this year we’ve had 24 homicides. Compared to basically the same time last year we were looking at 32. Last year was a particularly bad year,” said Watkins.

 

A council working group tasked with finding ways to improve trust and accountability for the Tulsa Police Department is still developing potential policies, but it has made one suggestion: business cards for every officer.

During a recent visit with Sand Springs Police, working group members learned every officer there carries business cards with their name and contact information on them to give to people they encounter. 

Councilor Lori Decter Wright said that would be an easy way to humanize officers in situations that can be stressful for people who don’t trust them.

Tulsa Police Department

Members of the Tulsa City Council on Wednesday discussed possible actions they and the Tulsa Police Department can take to prevent or discourage illegal street racing on the Broken Arrow Expressway and other roadways across the city.

Councilor Kara Joy McKee sponsored the agenda item for the council's urban and economic development committee meeting in response to constituent complaints she said she has received and seen on social media.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa is preparing for its second consecutive June featuring thousands of visitors, demonstrations and a visit from the President of the United States, and the head of the city's police force said Wednesday they're better prepared from having experienced it last year.

Tulsa Police Department

People of color are underrepresented within the Tulsa Police Department, but a new program could help change that.

Currently dubbed the Oklahoma Guardian Development Project, it would seek to start reaching Tulsa Public Schools students in high school, putting them in touch with mentors and guiding them into classes at Tulsa Community College and then OSU-Tulsa before the police academy.

Tulsa Police

Two Tulsa police officers were among the first recipients of state-level awards for heroism.

Gov. Kevin Stitt awarded Oklahoma Purple Hearts to Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan and Sgt. Craig Johnson in a ceremony at the capitol Tuesday afternoon.

Zarkeshan and Johnson were shot during a traffic stop last June. Johnson died of his injuries the day after the shooting. His widow, Kristi Johnson, accepted his medal from Stitt.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Oklahoma's senior U.S. Senator, Jim Inhofe, visited the Tulsa Fallen Officers' Memorial at the Tulsa Police Academy Friday to recognize National Police Week and announce legislation that would provide federal funding to help train law enforcement officers in dealing with individuals experiencing mental illness.

"There's a lot of opposition to law enforcement," Inhofe said. "It's just unbelievable that there is. We thought we would get out where people could see us and really understand what this is all about."

A Tulsa County District Court judge on Friday approved a request to delay the trial of the man charged in the shooting of two Tulsa Police officers in June 2020.

David Ware's trial was scheduled to begin this June. Judge William Musseman granted his attorney's request to push that back. Attorney Kevin Adams said in a motion for continuance he has not had adequate time to prepare a defense for a trial where prosecutors will seek the death penalty compared to other capital cases in the state in the past decade.

City of Tulsa

At a virtual press briefing following his presentation of a proposed fiscal year 2022 budget to the Tulsa City Council, Mayor G.T. Bynum said Wednesday that while Tulsa Police Department staffing is not being targeted for an increase this year, he plans to pursue adding more than 100 patrol officers as part of next year's budget proposal.

File photo

A Tulsa Police officer indicted on federal gun charges in December has pleaded guilty to making a false statement.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Clint Johnson’s office announced the pleading Thursday. They say 26-year-old Latoya Dythe acted as a straw buyer for 28-year-old Devon Jones, using his money to buy him a handgun from Bass Pro Shop and marking on a federal form it was for her.

A TPD gun crime unit investigation linked the gun to Dythe.

Tulsa Police

Tulsa police are looking for a missing 10-year-old boy. He could be considered endangered because of his age.

Aaron Bryant was last seen Wednesday around 7 p.m. near Savanna Landing apartments at 61st Street and Peoria Avenue.

Bryant is Black and was wearing a blue Aeropostale hoodie, black sweatpants, and white and green Nike Jordans. He was with another Black boy around 14 to 16 years old.

Anyone with information is asked to call TPD at 918-596-9222.

Tulsa Police Department

The Tulsa Police Department dedicated and unveiled a memorial to Ofc. Jerad Lindsey on the grounds of their training facility on Sunday.

TPD Chief Wendell Franklin and Mayor G.T. Bynum were among the officials in attendance at the ceremony for Lindsey, who also chaired the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The department said in a statement that Lindsey's is the 41st monument at the Tulsa Police Officers' Memorial, which recognizes dead officers from 1917 to present.

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Local and federal authorities are investigating a bomb scare at U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s Tulsa offices.

There was a series of emails mentioning explosives along with Inhofe’s Tulsa and D.C. offices. The Robert W. Davis Tower near 21st Street and Utica Avenue was evacuated before noon Tuesday, and the Tulsa Police bomb squad searched the building, including Inhofe’s offices, with sniffer dogs for about half an hour.

No explosive devices were found.

TPD, the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI are determining who sent the emails.

Tulsa police arrested a man on Monday they say killed his 70-year-old stepfather, then hid the body while he tried to stage a crime scene.

Police received a report of a dead body at a house near 21st and Sheridan around 1:30 a.m. Monday and found Edward Johnson lying in the front yard. Johnson had been severely beaten, and police found a garden hoe near his body.

Tulsa County Sheriff

Tulsa Police have arrested a man who drove into the Arkansas River during a Monday early morning pursuit, a crash that left a woman dead.

Jose Alan Lara-Garcia, 23, was arrested Tuesday evening and booked into the Tulsa County Jail on charges including first-degree manslaughter.

Police say they tried to stop him for reckless driving near 61st Street and Peoria Avenue on Monday, but he took off west on 61st, losing control at Riverside and driving into the river.

Tulsa Police

A Tulsa Police dive team recovered the body of a 19-year-old woman on Tuesday morning, the day after a pursuit ended with a car crashing into the Arkansas River at 61st Street.

Police found the woman around 9 a.m. on Tuesday close to where the car went into the water. She has been identified as Nathaly Medina. She would have turned 20 on Wednesday.

TPD said calmer conditions and receding water helped them find Medina's body.

A Tulsa County judge on Monday sentenced the man convicted of being the getaway driver in the shooting of two Tulsa Police officers last summer to 24 years in prison.

A jury convicted 29-year-old Matthew Hall on March 4 of two counts of being accessory to a felony for driving David Ware from the scene of an east Tulsa traffic stop where he shot Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan and Sgt. Craig Johnson in June 2020.

Zarkeshan was seriously wounded and needed months of rehabilitation. Johnson died.

Updated March 4, 7:40 p.m.  

A Tulsa County jury on Thursday convicted a man accused of being the getaway driver after the shooting of two Tulsa police officers last summer.

In a verdict announced shortly before 4 p.m., the jury found 29-year-old Matthew Hall guilty on two counts of being an accessory to a felony. The jury recommended 12 years in prison on both counts out of a maximum 22.5 years.

KWGS File Photo

Updated March 3, 6:38 p.m.

The trial for a man charged as the getaway driver in the June 2020 shooting of two Tulsa police officers started Wednesday.

Matthew Hall, 29, faces two counts of being an accessory to a felony. Prosecutors allege he drove David Ware from the traffic stop in east Tulsa where Tulsa Police Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan and Sgt. Craig Johnson were shot and that Hall helped get rid of the gun that was used.

The trial for a man accused of being a getaway driver after the shooting of two Tulsa police officers last year is expected to begin this week.

Matthew Hall faces an accessory to murder charge. Authorities say he drove David Ware from the scene of the June shooting where Sgt. Craig Johnson was killed and Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan was seriously wounded.

Jury selection for Hall’s trial was delayed, with Tulsa County District Judge Bill Musseman blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for shrinking the jury pool and delaying trials.

Hall has pleaded not guilty.

Tulsa Police

A Tulsa police officer is in a medically induced coma after suffering an unspecified medical emergency during a call Friday morning.

Ofc. Sean Love responded to a call from an outside ambulance company about a combative patient near 61st Street and Yale Avenue around 8 a.m. TPD says while struggling with the patient, Love lost consciousness and had no pulse.

Paramedics and other officers performed CPR and took Love to the nearby St. Francis emergency room, where doctors resuscitated him.

Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art

Two teenagers were arrested Thursday in connection with the vandalism of Holocaust memorial sculptures on the grounds of Tulsa's Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art early Wednesday morning.

NPR

The Tulsa Police Department says they’re on track when it comes to testing rape kits out of a backlog of 3,000.

A $1.5 million Department of Justice grant awarded in 2018 was supposed to pay for processing up to 650, as well as accompanying investigations and victim advocacy services. Capt. Jillian Phippen, who oversees the special victims unit, gave the city council an update this week.

"To date, we’ve tested 454 of those kits, and by the end of this grant, which is September of this year, we will have tested the full 650," Phippen said.

A 24/7 psychiatric care center in Tulsa has added a dedicated police entry port and treatment beds to help law enforcement get people in crisis to appropriate help faster.

The Police One Stop is at Family and Children’s Services downtown CrisisCare Center. Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said up to now, officers have often been default mental health responders and have had to decide whether to take someone in crisis to jail, an emergency room or somewhere else.

A Tulsa Police officer has been indicted on federal gun charges.

U.S. Attorney Trent Shores announced Thursday 26-year-old Latoya Dythe faces charges for allegedly making a false statement to a firearms dealer. Shores said Dythe took cash from her boyfriend, 27-year-old Devon Jones, and bought a gun for him from Bass Pro Shops in April. She marked on a required form she was buying it for herself, a practice known as a straw purchase.

U.S. Army

The man accused of killing a Tulsa police sergeant earlier this year will go to trial June 7, 2021.

David Ware faces charges including first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill in the June 29 shooting that killed Sgt. Craig Johnson and wounded Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan. It happened during a traffic stop in east Tulsa.

Ware entered a not guilty plea through his attorney at a Monday hearing, where prosecutors confirmed they will seek the death penalty.

Updated Oct. 28, 2:00 p.m.  

Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police Board of Directors Chairman Jerad Lindsey has died from COVID-19.

Tulsa Police announced Lindsey's death Wednesday morning. Lindsey reportedly went to the hospital last Wednesday with a very high fever.

Lindsey was 40 years old. He's survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two sons.

Google Street View

Woodland Hills Mall shut down for about an hour Friday afternoon after a report of shots fired, which turned out to be a gun going off in a man’s pocket while he was at the food court.

The incident happened around 2 p.m. Police said the man immediately left the mall.

There were no injuries, though some reports indicate the man shot himself in the leg.

While Oklahoma allows open and concealed carry of guns without a license, they are not allowed inside Woodland Hills Mall by owner and operator Simon Properties. 

Facebook / Tulsa Police Department

Dozens of supporters cheered and looked on Thursday at Tulsa International Airport as Tulsa Police Department Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan, injured in a June shooting, stepped off a plane following months of rehabilitation at an out-of-state facility.

Zarkeshan was immediately greeted by Mayor G.T. Bynum, who hugged him and said, "Welcome home!"

On a TPD livestream of the event, Zarkeshan, who appeared physically healthy and in good spirits, addressed the camera and more than 1,000 viewers directly.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

A number of demonstrations are scheduled around Tulsa Saturday, with potentially thousands gathering for a prayer march with the Tulsa Police Department and separate rallies against white supremacy.

TPD and Sheridan Church are scheduled to lead a "Faith In Blue" march, a faith-based event in support of law enforcement, from John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park on North Greenwood Avenue to TPD headquarters. The march was originally routed down through the heart of the Greenwood District, but Chief Wendell Franklin said he got "unsettling news" that there may be counterprotests.

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