MIDWEST CITY — District Attorney David Prater has cleared a police officer who shot and killed a suspect Dec. 3 after the man charged him with a machete and a pellet rifle.
Police Chief Brandon Clabes on Friday released a 911 tape and a video of the incident, which shows officer Jeremy Zuniga fire three shots after backing away from the suspect, Bryan Don Scott, 42, as he rushed forward carrying the weapons.
“It is clear that Officer Zuniga delayed his use of deadly force until Scott gave him no other option,” Prater wrote in a Dec. 12 letter to Clabes. “Scott demonstrated by his actions that he was intent on hurting or killing Zuniga. I have determined that deadly force was lawful and justified in this case.”
Police were called about 6:50 a.m. Dec. 3 to a home at 609 Lions Park Place by the owner, who had permitted Scott to stay in an attached garage on the property for a couple of days before asking him to leave.
Clabes said Scott apparently returned to the home armed with the machete and pellet gun, which looks like a high-powered rifle, and took some of the homeowner's clothes into the garage and doused them with gasoline.
As he lit the clothes, it caused an explosion.
A woman called 911 after the explosion, saying Scott was outside her house with a pellet gun and had caused an explosion.
“I think he's out of his mind,” the woman said. “Someone needs to come pick him up.”
The video from the dashboard of Zuniga's patrol car shows him arriving on the scene and checking the side of the house, shining his flashlight.
A short time later, Zuniga can be seen backing toward the street with his gun drawn before firing three shots with his .40-caliber Glock pistol. Scott, who was hit twice, falls forward, rolling to Zuniga's feet.
“He was holding the machete in his right hand raised above his head and he had the rifle in his left hand under his armpit with his hand on the trigger,” Clabes said. “We never want to use our firearms. But obviously, as you can see from the video, officer Zuniga had no choice.”
Scott was convicted on a felony charge of concealing stolen property in 2004 in Oklahoma County, the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network website shows.