MIDWEST CITY — Jeremy Zuniga has been named officer of the year by the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police.
Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes nominated Zuniga for his quick thinking, skill and courage on a potentially deadly night, according to a news release.
On Dec. 3, Zuniga was dispatched to a disturbance involving an explosion in the 600 block of Lions Park Place.
Zuniga arrived on the scene to find Bryan Don Scott, 42, holding a pellet rifle in his left hand and a machete in his right. Witnesses said Scott had caused an explosion by dousing clothing with gasoline and setting them on fire.
Within minutes, Scott was hurling himself and the weapons at Zuniga, Clabes said, and Zuniga's only remaining option was to shoot Scott in self-defense.
Scott was killed, and it was later discovered he was a felon and under the influence of drugs.
The incident was captured on Zuniga's in-car video camera.
“Based on the information learned after the incident and from reviewing the video, it was clear that officer Zuniga had no choice but to use deadly force to protect himself,” Clabes said. “It is obvious in this situation that officer Zuniga demonstrated heroism above and beyond the call of duty.”
In the aftermath of the event, Zuniga's first request was that a chaplain pray for Scott's surviving family.
“This is a strong testament of officer Zuniga's character and a benchmark which underscores he is the right man for law enforcement,” Clabes said.