Police Fatally Shoot Man Who Ignored Orders. He Was Deaf

Magdiel Sanchez was killed Tuesday when officers showed up at his home
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2017 4:07 PM CDT
People arrive at the home of Magdiel Sanchez, the site of an officer involved shooting, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(Newser) – Police fatally shot a 35-year-old deaf man Tuesday night in Oklahoma City while neighbors screamed at officers that the man couldn't hear their commands, the New York Daily News reports. Police say Magdiel Sanchez's father was behind the wheel of a car that hit an object and didn't stop. When officers arrived at his home to investigate, they found Sanchez—who had not been in the car with his father—on the porch. Police say Sanchez was holding a metal pipe (officers originally called it a stick). According to NBC News, a neighbor says Sanchez, who was deaf and used notes to communicate, often carried the pipe to ward off stray dogs during nighttime walks. Officers told Sanchez to drop the pipe and get on the ground. He couldn't hear them.

As Sanchez walked toward officers, neighbors screamed that he "can't hear you." Capt. Bo Mathews says it's possible officers didn't hear the neighbors. "When you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision, or you can lock into just the person who has the weapon, the threat against you," Mathews says. Lt. Matthew Lindsey fired a Taser at Sanchez while Sgt. Christopher Barnes fired his gun, KOCO reports. The officers were about 15 feet away from Sanchez at the time. Mathews says Barnes fired "more than one" shot at Sanchez. According to the Washington Post, it's unclear why Barnes used his gun instead of a Taser. Neither officer was wearing a body camera. Barnes has been placed on leave. Sanchez, who died at the scene, had no criminal history. (Read more police shooting stories.)

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