Traffic Stop Leads To Officer-Involved Shooting In Harrah

Saturday, November 19th 2011, 10:21 pm
By: News 9

Chris McKinnon, News 9

HARRAH, Oklahoma -- A Harrah police officer opened fire on a suspect during a routine traffic stop. The driver is behind bars Saturday night and the officer is praised for how he handled the situation.

The suspect, Thomas Stevenson, was pulled over for blowing through a stop sign around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. The officer thought Stevens was intoxicated and asked him to step out of the pick-up truck, Stevens then pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at the officer.

"The officer makes contact with him, advises him of the violations and is in the process of writing a citation, the officer believes that he may smell alcohol on this individual," said Phil Steward, Harrah police officer.

Stevenson complied, but exited his black Ford pickup with his hands inside his pockets, according to police.

Stewart said the officer asked Stevenson three times to remove his hands from his pocket. When he finally complied, he pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at the officer. That's when Stevenson pulled out a semi-automatic handgun, equipped with a laser for better aim.

"The officer commented that in the darkness behind his patrol car, he would see this laser flashing around in the darkness," said Stewart. "That would indicate to us that this individual was hunting for the officer in the darkness."

Police said the officer fired and hit Stevenson. When this happened, he tried to get into his pickup truck and drive away but the officer was able to keep in at the scene.

"The wound is non life-threatening," said Stewart. "It's my understanding that he is hit somewhere between his shoulder blades."

Backup arrived shortly after and Thomas Stevenson was taken into custody.

Jim West lives across the street from where the shooting happened.

"I come outside and there was eight cop cars," said West. "Everything just a hundred feet from my house.

West said it was frightening how close a shooting happened to his home, but said he was happy with the outcome and glad the officer was not injured.

"Good job, I mean, you know. Catch more of them," West said.

Thomas Stevenson was being held in the Oklahoma County Jail Saturday night. Police said he could face charges of shooting with the intent to kill, though that decision will ultimately be up to the District Attorney's office.