Lawton police released the officer body camera videos of the Nov. 19, 2020, shooting death of a 30-year-old man at the end of an hour-long standoff.
The video offered evidence of a “suicide by cop” scenario at its end.
With the video, Lawton Police Chief James T. Smith issued a statement regarding the matter.
The videos capture the last hour in the life of Duane Scott Murray II. A full-length single-camera video is from Officer Brandon Becker’s viewpoint, including when he took the fatal shot.
Although dark throughout the just over an hour-long video, Murray is heard telling officers his side to the relationship with the woman at the root of the incident. He professed his love while holding a gun to his head.
Police were initially called to the scene at Pepper Tree Apartments by a woman who claimed Murray had kicked in her door. In the multi-camera video also released by police, the voice of the woman rang with distress as she pleaded for officers to arrive. When they did, they found the naked woman running from the apartments.
They were next greeted by Murray who was holding a pistol to his head. Numerous commands from officers for Murray to drop the weapon were heard.
In Smith’s statement, and also heard on Becker’s body-cam, over the course of the next hour, Murray confessed to raping the woman he loved and to telling officers he wanted them to shoot him.
Instead, police continued to communicate with the still-armed Murray. A crisis negotiator arrived and continued speaking with him. His emotions were palpable when he was heard crying out his love for the woman while voicing confusion about how things got to that point.
And then he began singing. A country song sprung from his lips and at its end, he marched towards his. Murray is seen walking towards officers. The woman was still inside an officer’s patrol unit at the scene. Her friends are seen running in fear as he walked in the parking lot.
At the time of the incident, Murray had been free on $10,000 bond on allegations he raped the same woman at the same apartments. In that incident, the victim claimed he sexually assaulted her at gunpoint.
Murray pleaded not guilty to felony assault with intent to commit a felony during his formal arraignment and the case had been slated for the January/February 2021 jury trial docket, records indicate.
On the multi-cam video, Murray is seen walking one last time towards officers with the gun still to his head. He said, “You, you, you … blast me to death.”
Murray continued towards officers taking cover behind parked vehicles. An unidentified officer fired two non-lethal bean bag rounds from his shotgun, hitting Murray in the torso. Smith said this happened a moment before Murray turned the gun toward officers and Becker fired the final shot.
According to the State Medical Examiner’s autopsy report, Murray suffered a massive injury to his front scalp, skull and brain, along with multiple facial fractures. He also received ring-shaped bruising from the non-lethal rounds.
Murray had cocaine in his blood, according to the autopsy report.
Smith called the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to investigate the incident.
“The goal of the Lawton Police Department is to ensure that critical incidents of this nature are thoroughly investigated,” Smith said. “That is why any time there is an officer-involved shooting, I request the assistance of the OSBI to conduct an independent, impartial and comprehensive review of the incident.”
The OSBI has since turned over the report to the Comanche County District Attorney and the shooting has been ruled justified. Becker has been cleared from wrongdoing, according to the chief.
This is the second officer-involved shooting where the District Attorney has ruled the officer’s actions were proper under the circumstances.
On April 19, following another OSBI review, the shooting death of Zonterious Johnson, 24, of Lawton, was ruled justified.
According to investigators and the body camera video of the Jan. 17 incident, Johnson was shot and killed while holding a gun following a foot chase. Officers had been inside the Lavish Lounge, 1015 SW Park, conducting a compliance check when gunshots rang from outside.
Johnson was seen standing in the roadway exchanging gunfire with another person who was near a white SUV. He then took off running with officers giving chase. The video showed Johnson, standing in an alley, lifting his shirt and pulling a gun before turning as an officer approached and told him to drop it. Johnson extended his arm, the gun came into view and Johnson was struck by three gunshots — two through his chest and one through his right foot.
A handgun was seen in the video lying next to Johnson as police officers began to render first aid. Investigators would later find several shell casings matching the gun in the roadway outside the Lavish Lounge.
Johnson later died at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.
Smith expressed his sincere condolences to the families in both cases. With officers cleared, he hopes the connection between his officers and the community will strengthen through knowing these incidents were thoroughly investigated and, by releasing the videos of the incidents, transparency will preserve peace.
“The Lawton Police Department’s continued goal is to consistently strive to strengthen the bond between the department and the citizens in this community,” he said.
Written by Scott Rains: email@example.com.