The Tulsa police officer who shot and killed a black man Friday was “never so scared in her life,” according to an account of her side of the story given by her lawyer to ABC News.
“I was never so scared in my life as in that moment right then,” officer Betty Shelby told the homicide detectives in an interview, according to her lawyer Scott Wood. She thought Terence Crutcher was reaching into his car for a weapon when she fired the shot, Wood maintains.
[dcquiz] Video of the incident shows Crutcher walking away from police with his hands up, but the footage obscures the key moment some seconds later when one officer tases him and Shelby fires the kill shot. Police maintain he was disobeying direct orders and attempting to get inside his car, although he was found to be unarmed.
In Shelby’s account, she encountered the SUV blocking traffic on her way to a domestic violence call, and approached the car to see what was going on. As she was inspecting the car to see if anyone was inside, she turned around and saw Crutcher walking toward her.
She asked him if it was his car, but he did not respond and was looking at her with a strange gaze. His gaze, combined with other behavior such as putting his hands up when only asked to take them out of his pocket, soon led Shelby to believe he was on some kind of drug. Police say they later found a vial of PCP in his car.
“As a police officer, you have to wonder — why would someone ignore commands at gunpoint to get to a certain location?” Wood told ABC News, regarding Crutcher’s actions in the moments before his death.
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