OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma County District Attorney says an Oklahoma City police officer and an OHP trooper were justified in their use of force in a deadly shooting earlier this year.
On March 4, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper tried to pull over a truck near I-240 and Air Depot for a broken tag light.
However, the driver refused to stop and led the trooper on a long chase. Eventually, an Oklahoma City police officer joined in the chase for backup since there were no other troopers in the area.
Officials say the driver, 38-year-old George Lee Seeton, lost control of his vehicle and ended up in a yard near S.E. 32nd St. and Kelley.
At that point, the officer and trooper got out of their vehicles and walked toward the truck.
However, Seeton started reversing toward them.
“Went in the direction of the officers. Both the trooper and the officer discharged their weapons, striking the suspect,” Capt. Paco Balderrama, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, told NewsChannel 4 in March.
They tried to revive Seeton, but he died at the scene.
Last month, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma City Police Department held a joint news conference to address the shooting. At the same time, the footage from the officer’s body cam was released.
Warning: This video contains graphic events that may be disturbing to some viewers.
"Just that quick. I mean, I think about a second and a half or two seconds before, from the time he fully gets out of the car to when the shooting takes place. So not a whole lot of time to make a decision. You know, that's one of the tough things about being a police officer is that you have to take everything that's going on, the totality of the circumstances and make a very quick decision. Sometimes it involves people's freedom and their lives, in this case. It's pretty tough for the officers but, of course, it's their job to follow the training and our guidelines and our policy and procedure," Capt. Balderrama said.
On Thursday, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater announced that the use of force in this case was justified.
"It is my opinion that OHP Trooper Mike Moler and OCPD Officer Jared Jackson were lawfully justified in their use of deadly force. When Trooper Moler began to shoot his weapon at Seeton, he did so in an attempt to defend Officer Jackson from Seeton's apparent attempt to hit Jackson with the suspect vehicle. Jackson's decision to fire came as he perceived the suspect vehicle accelerating in his general direction," Prater wrote.
Officials say the truck Seeton was driving at the time of the shooting was stolen, and he was wanted on a felony warrant.