Norman officer 'justified' in shooting man, DA's office decides

The Cleveland County district attorney's office has issued a letter saying a Norman police officer was justified in shooting a man who came at her with a knife.
BY JANE GLENN CANNON jcannon@opubco.com Modified: May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm •  Published: May 30, 2013
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— The Cleveland County district attorney's office has issued a report that says a Norman police officer was justified in shooting a man May 1 who came toward her wielding a knife.

Officer Glenda Vassar shot Richard Darwin Eaton, 44, multiple times after Eaton refused orders to drop the knife.

Witnesses said Eaton charged the officer with the knife after first entering a Wendy's restaurant at 1908 W Main St. and accosting a woman. According to witnesses, Eaton demanded money from the woman, hit her in the face and fled.

Vassar responded to a 911 call and confronted Eaton in a parking lot of a gas station a short distance west of the restaurant, police Capt. Tom Easley said. Vassar shot the man when he “charged her” with a knife, the police captain said.

Assistant District Attorney Susan Caswell sent a letter to the police department this week saying she had reviewed the facts and circumstances of the case and had found that Vassar's use of force was “justified and appropriate under the law and thus no action by the district attorney's office is warranted.”

Easley said Vassar remains on administrative leave pending final review by the police department.

Eaton was hospitalized at the OU Medical Center for several days following the shooting, but since has been released into the custody of the Cleveland County sheriff's office. He is being held in the county jail on a felony count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

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