Glass

The City of Lawton has terminated two Lawton Police officers for their roles in the Dec. 5, 2021, shooting death of a Lawton man.

In a statement released Friday afternoon from the Office of City Manager Michael Cleghorn, following “careful consideration,” officers Nathan Ronan and Robert Hinkle were terminated from their posts.

The early-December incident happened around 8:30 p.m. at 1806 NW Lincoln and resulted in the death of Quadry Sanders, 29, of Lawton.

Ronan also was the shooting officer in the Jan. 17, 2021, death of Zonterious Johnson, 24. He was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case following an investigation.

The city manager’s decision followed an administrative investigation conducted by the police department’s Internal Affairs division, according to a press release.

“The actions of these officers were not in conformance with the Lawton Police Department’s well-established training protocols, policies, practices, customs or procedures,” Cleghorn said in the press release.

In the December incident, a 911 caller reported Sanders was waving a gun inside the house, according to a press release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). Police officers responded and requested that Sanders come out of the house.

A confrontation with police occurred in front of the home and Sanders was shot, according to the press release. Life-saving measures were conducted, and Sanders was taken to a local hospital before being pronounced dead.

The Lawton Police Department turned the investigation over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to allow for an independent investigation.

Cleghorn’s statement noted the city’s administrative investigation and actions taken are separate and distinct from the ongoing OSBI’s criminal investigation.

Once the investigation is completed, its findings will be turned over to Comanche County District Attorney Kyle Cabelka for determination of whether or not criminal charges will follow.

“Any presumptions about the criminal culpability of these officers should not be based upon the city’s actions here today,” Cleghorn said in a press release.

Cabelka said Friday afternoon that he’s still awaiting the OSBI report to make any determinations. There is still aspects of the investigation underway.

“It’s my understanding they’re still waiting on some tests,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes once they get it to me.”

Ronan began as a Lawton police officer on Aug. 28, 2017. He worked as a part-time City of Lawton maintenance worker before that from April 15, 2016, until June 16, 2017, according to the City Manager’s Office.

Hinkle had been employed with the department since Aug. 27, 2018.

The decision to terminate Ronan and Hinkle was carefully made, according to the statement. In the end, Cleghorn stated the decision followed the city’s belief, to include the police department, to police itself in the same manner the community is policed and holds itself to the highest possible standards.

“The actions of these officers were not in conformance with the Lawton Police Department’s well-established training protocols, policies, practices, customs or procedures,” he said in the press release.

In the Jan. 17, 2021, shooting death of Johnson, Ronan was cleared following the OSBI’s investigation.

Ronan was among officers at the Lavish Lounge, 1016 SW Park, conducting a compliance check. As gunfire erupted outside the venue, Johnson was seen shooting his handgun before running from the area. Ronan gave chase and found Johnson in the alley a half-block away.

Ronan is heard ordering Johnson to drop his gun. When Johnson turned around with the gun in his hand, Ronan fired six rounds, striking the other man with three shots and, ultimately, killing him.

Written by Scott Rains: scott.rains@swoknews.com.