Oklahoma volunteer deputy: Trained on the gun used to shoot Eric Harris? (+video)
Oklahoma volunteer deputy Robert Bates fatally shot Eric Harris, mistakenly using his .357 Smith & Wesson revolver instead of a stun gun. Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter
Tulsa, Okla. — The Tulsa County sheriff said Monday he doesn't believe training records were falsified in connection to a volunteer deputy who fatally shot a man after mistaking his handgun for a stun gun.
Sheriff Stanley Glanz said the volunteer, 73-year-old insurance executive Robert Bates, was properly trained. But the sheriff stopped short of saying Bates was qualified to use the gun he used when he killed Eric Harris earlier this month.
Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Eric Harris, who was shot after running from officers during a sting investigation.
"Mr. Bates has been to the range several times and is qualified and that is documented," the sheriff said during a news conference. When asked if Bates was trained on the specific gun he fired at Harris, Glanz said: "That is something we're still looking at and it will be part of the administrative review."
Harris' family has questioned whether Bates was adequately trained. The Tulsa World newspaper, citing unnamed sources, has reported some of Bates' supervisors were told to certify him after he failed to meet some qualifications.
Bates has disputed those reports. His attorneys released some of his training records over the weekend, including certificates showing what training he received, job evaluation reports and weapons training and qualification records dating to 2008.
Training records released Saturday do not show that Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Robert Bates qualified on a revolver he carried during a fatal shooting and his gun was not on the list of firearms deputies can carry on duty.
New training records released Saturday by Bates’ attorneys are missing three years of firearms qualification records and nearly all of his Field Training Officer records. Though the Tulsa World requested all of Bates’ training records days after the April 2 shooting, the sheriff’s office refused.
Summary training records were later released during a press conference, but none showing his 480 hours of required training with officers in the field or any logs detailing his handgun qualifications.
The sheriff's office list of approved weapons does not include the .357 Smith & Wesson revolver that Bates used in the shooting. He has said the gun, which has a laser sight, is his personal weapon.
Glanz also said Monday that action will be taken against two deputies at the scene, including one caught on video cursing at Harris as he lay dying. The sheriff said both have received threats and have been reassigned for their own safety.
"Through our administrative process we will review what those officers did and will take some administrative action," the sheriff said, but didn't provide specifics.
He said nine officers were involved with the sting, and that two officers had pinned down Bates when the shot was fired.
The sheriff said Monday that Bates had been his insurance agent and that they'd known each other for about 25 years. He said they met when Glanz's oldest son was in high school and got into a car accident.
Associated Press writer Allen Reed contributed to this report from Little Rock, Arkansas.