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Oklahoma police sergeant dies after traffic stop shooting

An OCPD supervisor car in front of the new police headquarters building, in downtown Oklahoma City. (Oklahoma City Police Department photo/Released)

An Oklahoma police officer who was shot during a traffic stop has died, according to Tulsa police Chief Wendell Franklin.

Sgt. Craig Johnson was one of two officers who was shot early Monday morning during an altercation with a suspect, identified by the Tulsa Police Department as David Ware. The other officer who was shot was Aurash Zarkeshan.

“Sgt. Johnson was a good man who made our lives better,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “Who trained his fellow officers to be better. Our city mourns, and as it mourns, the best thing that we can do as Tulsans is to be there for his family, and especially his two wonderful boys.”

Ware, 33, was pulled over for what Franklin called a “regular traffic stop.” When Zarkeshan and Johnson approached Ware’s car, Ware “refused to get out of the vehicle,” Franklin said.

In describing what happened, Franklin said Johnson deployed his Taser before he and Zarkeshan tried to “extract” Ware from the car with physical force. Johnson also used pepper spray during the altercation.

Eventually, Johnson and Zarkeshan got Ware out of the car and Ware drew a handgun and “fired multiple rounds in close proximity at the two officers,” Franklin said.

Ware, 33, got into another car and left the scene, Franklin said. He added Matthew Hall, 29, was the driver of the other car.

Ware was arrested later Monday morning after officers tracked him to a house, according to the police department’s Facebook page. Ware surrendered after officers surrounded the house. Hall was also arrested Monday. Franklin on Tuesday said police have interacted with Ware in the past.

Ware faces a first-degree murder charge, as well as weapons charges. Hall was arrested as an accessory. Franklin said both officers had their body cams on.

After saying Johnson sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the altercation, including a “critical” one, Wendell added, “Doctors and nurses attempted and tried everything they could to save his life.”

Johnson, who was promoted so sergeant in 2015, joined the Tulsa Police Department in 2005, according to TPD. He and Zarkeshan, who completed his police training in May of this year, were both shot in the head and taken to the hospital in critical condition on Monday.

Johnson, an organ donor, is survived by his wife, his two sons and his parents, Wendell said.

“Craig’s passing is a tremendous loss to our department,” Wendell said. “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.

“His sacrifice will not go unremembered.”


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