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Bethany officer injured during disturbance call at apartment complex

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BETHANY, Okla. – A police officer is recovering from his injuries after getting into a struggle with an apartment tenant who was told he had five days to pay his rent.

Bethany police said Officer Zack Zamudio was called shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday to Jasper Gardens Apartments in the 2500 block of N. Rockwell Ave. for a disturbance.

Connie Downs, an employee in the apartment complex office, said she’s the one that called police on Eric Chrystal, 30, who became “irate” after being told he was being given a rent payment notice.

“He just got irate, and I called the cops out and I guess he got mad at the cops,” Downs said, adding there have been issues with Chrystal before. “Just didn’t want to pay his rent, and we’re just trying to clean this place up. All about money, and it shouldn’t happen. It should never happen.”

By the time Zamudio arrived, Chrystal had left the office.

Police said Zamudio made contact with Chrystal a short time later on the second floor of an apartment building, where the two got into a “struggle."

“We’re not really sure what happened after that. We just started getting calls for ‘officer down, officer needing assistance,’” said Bethany Police Deputy Chief John Reid.

“I didn’t really know what was going on,” said Glennis Losson, 72, who lives in the apartment building next door. “The next thing I know my nephew said there’s all these kind of cops out there, and the next thing we heard there was a cop down.”

“Of course, when you hear the word ‘officer down,’ you start calling for help, because we did not know what we had at that point,” Reid said. “You never know what you’re going into on any call that you arrive to. (Zamudio) initially called in that the suspect had left and he didn’t need any other help. And, then, within a minute, he was down on the ground, so it changes really fast.”

When Bethany and Warr Acres police arrived, they found Zamudio suffering from a head and neck injury; Chrystal was quickly caught as he tried to hop a nearby fence.

Reid said there is no indication a weapon was involved.

“I think it was just a hands assault, and I think his head hit the metal railing around the stairwell, the stairways,” he said.