ME Releases Autopsy After Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting In NW OKC

Wednesday, September 17th 2014, 7:24 pm
By: News 9

The Office of the State Medical Examiner released the autopsy of 19-year-old Karen Cifuentes, who was shot and killed by Oklahoma City police earlier this month.

Cifuentes' boyfriend, 24-year-old Juan Aguilera, has been charged with her murder.

Aguilera didn't pull the trigger that ended his girlfriend's life, but police said he was involved in a drug deal that led to the shooting, and under Oklahoma law, that means he can be held responsible.

"It is a tragic thing," said attorney Irven Box. "It is tragic for the young lady who lost her life and for my client, since the lady was his long-time girlfriend." 

Box is defending Aguilera against a murder charge he picked up while allegedly dealing drugs near N. Rockwell Avenue and Melrose Lane
in northwest Oklahoma City.

9/4/2014 Related Story: OKC Police Identify Suspects In Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting

"We do not believe my client, who was passenger in the car, should be charged with felony murder," Box said.

Prosecutors argue Aguilera and his girlfriend, Cifuentes, were trying to get away from undercover officers. They say Cifuentes, who was driving, struck an officer with the car, and the officer returned a fatal shot.

State law says a person accused of a felony, such as dealing drugs, can also be charged with murder, if someone dies during the commission of that felony.

Box doesn't disagree with the law but disagrees with prosecutors' contention that it applies to this case.

9/3/2014 Related Story: Police Investigate Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting In NW OKC

"The shooting was, as police say, justified, because she hit him," said Box. "My client had no part in that, even though he could've been involved earlier."

Box and others have also criticized the shooting in light of the medical examiner's autopsy, which indicates Cifuentes was shot in the back, but Oklahoma City police said that means nothing, in and of itself.

"We knew she was shot in the back," explained Captain Dexter Nelson with the Oklahoma City Police Department. "That night, we announced to the media she was shot in the back. That is not a surprise, and it really doesn't negate the fact she hit the officer, and he fired back at that time."

Captain Nelson said the officer felt his life was threatened. What's more, he said the location of the wound, which the autopsy report doesn't clearly identify, is not what determines whether a shooting is justified.

“The fact that someone is shot in the back or anywhere else does not make it a bad shooting,” Captain Nelson said.

Each time an officer fires their weapon at a suspect, the department conducts an internal and criminal investigation. The results of which are presented to the District Attorney. Captain Nelson said those investigations have not been completed.