Two Tulsa police officers were shot early Monday during a routine traffic stop. Sadly, Tulsa World reported that by the next day, one of those officers — Sgt. Craig Johnson, a beloved 15-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department — had succumbed to his injuries.
Soon after, according to Tulsa World, charges against the suspect involved were upgraded to first-degree murder.
“Just” a traffic stop
This tragedy comes amid widespread calls to “defund” local police departments. According to advocates of this practice, unarmed officials, including social workers, would then respond to non-violent calls.
But this is a prime example of a non-violent situation quickly escalating into something far more serious.
According to Tulsa World, rookie Officer Aurash Zarkeshan had pulled over a car an expired temporary tag. Sgt. Johnson arrived shortly thereafter as back-up.
When the officers told the driver, Anthony Ware, to exit his vehicle so it could be towed over past taxes due, Ware reportedly reached under his seat and pulled out a weapon.
Ware managed to dodge both pepper spray and a taser strike by the officers and opened fire, hitting both officers in the head and torso, according to Tulsa World.
The loss of a hero
Both officers were then taken to a local hospital, where Sgt. Johnson passed away on Tuesday. Officer Zarkeshan remains in critical condition, Tulsa World reported.
Responding to Johnson’s death, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum called the officer a “good man who made our lives better.”
“Tulsa’s a city that loves and honors heroes,” Bynum added, according to Tulsa World. “Today we feel the tremendous pain of losing one. In the days ahead, I hope that both the Johnson family and the men and women of the Tulsa Police Department will feel our city gathered around them, showing that same love for them that Sgt. Johnson and his sacrifice showed for us.”
Sadly, this tragedy will become only one of many if local leaders don’t start cracking down on attacks on the police.
Peaceful protests are one thing, but when they escalate to something like this, accountability is the only answer. The safety of our country is at stake.