Eric Harris, 44, had been part of an active investigation by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office pertaining to the distribution of a form of methamphetamine known as ICE. Undercover officers purchased meth from Harris last month, at such time he informed the officers that he had access to guns and ammunition, if they were interested in buying them. But Harris, who is a convicted felon, was not legally allowed to possess a firearm.
Officers then met with Harris around 10 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of a Dollar General store to purchase a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and three-hundred rounds of ammunition. After the transaction, authorities moved in to make an arrest, and at that time, Harris fled on foot.
As Harris ran, he was seen reaching towards his waistband, but Deputy Robert Bates was able to tackle Harris to the ground. Harris continued to resist arrest, and a struggle ensued, during which time Harris refused to move his left arm, which was still reaching towards his waistband.
During what the sheriff’s office called a “rapidly evolving altercation” and in an effort to subdue Harris, Bates grabbed what he thought was a taser from his tactical carrier and fired. But what Bates had actually grabbed was his service pistol, according to a report from a local ABC affiliate.
Harris was struck a single time and immediately rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The initial investigation indicated that Harris was likely under the influence of PCP. An autopsy is scheduled to be conducted.
Authorities did not immediately say whether they found a gun or other weapon on Harris.
This story's got everything in it. First of all, it contains the old tried and true, he-was-reaching-into-his- waistband justification. Then the rather unique and truly incredible, cop-grabs-gun-instead-of-taser nonsense. And if all that's not enough, the suspect was "under the influence of PCP."