TULSA, OK — Two teens sharing a private moment in a school parking lot were chased away in a hail of gunfire by an armed campus cop.
The disturbing incident took place when a boy and girl parked in the darkened lot of Eliot Elementary School at 1:30 a.m. on May 25th. The overnight patrol officer saw the car and initiated a confrontation.
The teens were caught “doing something that they shouldn’t have been doing” according to Chris Payne, an official from Tulsa Public Schools (TPS). The officer demanded the embarrassed teens produce identification and started asking questions that they reportedly did not want to answer.
The young male, 17, evaded the questions when he allegedly tried to drive away. In response, the TPS officer drew his weapon and opened fire. The vehicle was struck in the rear left tire but neither of the teens were hit.
The officer claimed his life was somehow in danger from the motion of the vehicle. It is unclear how attempting to kill a driver while a vehicle is moving could have improved his safety. Even if the officer succeeded in killing the driver, the vehicle would have kept moving and the supposed threat would continue to exist. Shooting at moving vehicles is categorically irresponsible in nearly every circumstance.
Mr. Payne had to sheepishly explain that campus cops “are real police officers” complete with guns and officer certifications.
The teens were tracked down by investigators to get their side of the story. The boy talked to police: “He was kind of in a situation he didn’t want to be in so his 17- year- old reaction was to just leave,” explained TPD Sgt. Walker, who helped investigate the case.
As if the shooting were not disturbing enough, the investigation is being shrouded in secrecy, and the officer who fired his weapon is being allowed to remain anonymous. All we know about the officer at this point is that he or she is on paid administrative leave.
When the people are not allowed to know the names of their own public servants, particularly the ones who misbehave, it is tantamount to living under a secret police force. The secrecy is repugnant and only a public outcry can change it.