“We have a right to protect ourselves and protect society,” Officials defend officer’s use of deadly force

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

Dramatic dash-cam video released, after an officer involved shooting in Midwest City.

The officer is back on the force, but the family is demanding an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

All authorities that have reviewed the case say this is cut and dry, the officer was in grave danger, and the video is proof.

It all started Oct. 5, 2015, when a startled woman called police from Peppertree Lane.

911 recordings help set the scene, as the woman, home alone, hid in her bedroom.

Dispatch: 911, is this a medical emergency?

Caller: Somebody`s trying to break into my house.

Caller: I can see their shadow walking from my backyard.

Two Midwest City Police officers were dispatched, where they reportedly found two suspects in the woman's backyard.

Police said the suspects then bolted over a fence and the chase was on.

Officer James Hill tailed the two men on foot, for four blocks. Sergeant Scott Primo jumped into his patrol car, as his dash cam continued to record.

All parties met on the campus of Rose State College.

Moments before the deadly encounter, a suspect is seen coming out from behind a dumpster, reportedly holding a handgun. Officer Hill fired 10 rounds.

Charles Pettit Jr. was shot six times. At his side, dropped in the melee, was a stolen, loaded, Smith and Wesson handgun. Pettit died 18 days later.

The second suspect remains on the run.

"Mr. Pettit during this time could have stopped, surrendered, thrown his gun away," said Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes. "But he chose to run."

An investigation by Midwest City police showed that Hill had no choice but to defend himself with deadly force. Clabes said the dash-cam video, frame by frame, proves Pettit was ready to kill an officer.

"We have a right to protect ourselves and protect society," he said. "That's all Officer Hill was doing."

District Attorney David Prater, Oklahoma County, cleared Hill a week later, calling the shooting a clear cut case of justified homicide.

"Pettit jumped out from behind the dumpster, with his right arm extended, with a chamber loaded pistol in it, pointed directly at the officer`s head," Prater said. "He would`ve been killed."

We now know Officer Hill is a retired Marine, who served in Afghanistan. He's since been labeled a terrorist online by the suspect's father, Charles Pettit Sr.

This type of incident is not uncharted territory for the Pettit's. Another of his sons, Lincoln Price, was killed by Oklahoma City Police a year earlier, after shooting and injuring two officers.

The family is angry about both police shootings and are calling for an independent OSBI investigation.

Despite seeking notoriety for their cause online, both Pettis Sr., and his attorney, have declined News Channel 4's multiple requests for comment.

"If someone wants to call for an independent investigation, bring it," Prater said.

Both the department and the county are standing by their officer, stating that the facts, and this video, speak for themselves.

David Prater, Clabes, the family's attorneys, a Midwest City council member, and leaders of the NAACP met recently, discussing the case, and watching the video.

It's unclear if the family will be pursuing legal action.


Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.