A deaf man in Oklahoma City was shot dead by police Tuesday night, after they ordered him to get on the ground. Meanwhile, local people shouted desperately at the cops that the man couldn’t hear them.
Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was both shot and tasered according to the Independent. Police went to his home after Sanchez’ father was involved in a hit-and-run. They found Sanchez holding a 2-foot-long pipe on his porch, which police mistook for a weapon.
"When the other unit arrived, verbal commands were being given to this individual to drop the weapon and get on the ground," Captain Bo Mathews said in a press conference. But, Sanchez kept moving toward the police.
Julio Rayos, a neighbor, told NewsOk: “We were screaming that he can't hear."
Mathews acknowledged this to be true.
"The witnesses were yelling that this person, Mr Sanchez, was deaf, and could not hear. The officers did not know this as the time."
However, he defended the actions taken by police. Lieutenant Matthew Lindsey used his Taser on Sanchez from 15 feet back. Sergeant Chris Barnes shot him “more than one time,” according to Matthews.
“In those situations, very volatile situations when you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision, or you could really lock into just the person that has the weapon that made the threat against you. They very well could not have heard everybody yelling around them.”
"The guy does movements,"Rayos told NewsOk, adding that Sanchez struggles with a learning disability. "He don't speak, he don't hear, mainly it is hand movements. That's how he communicates. I believe he was frustrated trying to tell them what was going on. I don't think they had to shoot him.”
Sanchez has no criminal history and was not in the car with his father who was involved in a hit-and-run.
The two officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave.
[Photo: NBC News]