There are new developments in a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened in Midwest City last October. The DA cleared the officer who fired the shots, and released dash cam video that shows why the officer used deadly force.
The dash cam video is from the car of Midwest City Sgt. Scott Primo who assisted fellow officer James Hill on a burglary call during the early morning hours of October 5. They responded to a home in a neighborhood near Rose State College.
“The officers go around the back of the house,” said Oklahoma City District Attorney David Prater as he views the dash-cam video. The suspects notice the officers and they both hit the back fence.”
From there the chase was on, with Officer Hill on the ground and Sgt. Primo in his car.
They all ended up on the Rose State College campus and Hill spotted 18-year-old Charles Pettit Jr. by a dumpster.
“And he began to yell, come up with your hands up, show me your hands show me your hands show me your hands,” said Prater,” You have two independent witnesses, Rose State employees, who were there at the time and heard and saw everything happen.”
Officer Primo's dash cam captured what happened next with Hill shooting at Pettit, and Pettit falling to the ground. It all happened in the blink of an eye.
But when you slow down the video you can see a pistol fall from Pettit's hand down to the ground. Prater said it was stolen and fully loaded.
“Hill had two choices, he could have been murdered that moment Pettit was pointing a gun at his head or he could have used deadly force to defend himself,” said Prater. “And he used deadly force to defend himself thankfully.”
Pettit was still alive moments after the shooting but died days later at the hospital. Pettit’s partner in crime got away and is yet to be arrested or even identified.
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Prater said Pettit's father has seen the video, but is still angry since he lost another son in an officer-involved shooting in Oklahoma City the year before.
Lincoln Price was shot and killed on December 2, 2014 during a traffic stop. Police said Price was in a car with two other people, and said that he pulled out a gun and started shooting at officers. The officers returned fire, killing Price. Two officers were also shot, but survived.
Prater said both Lincoln Price and Charles Pettit Jr. were known gang members with a long criminal record. He added their father Charles Pettit Sr. has now posted statements on social media that has all of law enforcement very concerned.
“He's the one who continues to put on Facebook that Officer Hill is a murderer, that his son was unarmed,” said Prater. “You see (in the video) that is clearly not the case and truly false.”
Prater said there are even reports of active gang member threatening to kill metro police officers as a result of Pettit’s posts.
“He's inciting violence, and it’s very dangerous - and I'm not going to put up with it.”
One man already faces felony charges for planning to perform an act of violence. Court papers state Antonio Rhone, 29, posted numerous threats toward police officers on Charles Petit Jr.’s Facebook page. They state Rhone is a known gang member and associated with the Pettit family.
The attorneys representing the Pettit family have filed an open records request to see this video for themselves and had a chance to view it frame by frame Wednesday, March 30. No word yet if they are filing a lawsuit.
Late Wednesday afternoon, they released this statement:
“After 6 months, and repeated unmet requests to both the Midwest City Police and District Attorney David Prater, Mr. Pettit was finally given the opportunity to view the frame by frame footage of his son's killing. He left the Police Chief's office visibly shaken. He was in tears. He was very disappointed that he still has not received the answers that his family so desperately seeks.
Viewing the video has only raised more questions. We have called and emailed the District Attorney's Office numerous times and have yet to receive any response whatsoever. Instead, they chose to disclose the video to the media. At this point, all the family seeks is clarity. The Law Office of Kim T. Cole, PLLC and The Obi Firm, PLLC fully intend to obtain answers so that this family can find the closure they need.”
Prater said he cleared the officer who fired the shots, saying Officer Hill was justified in using deadly force. He released the dash cam video to News 9 to show exactly why the officer used deadly force.