NORMAN, Okla. - Norman police have released body-camera footage following an officer-involved shooting.
Around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, police were called to the Presidential Garden Apartment complex to check on the welfare of a man.
After police arrived, they said they attempted to negotiate with the alleged suspect for more than 20 minutes before the shooting occurred.
“Officers arrived here, attempted to make contact with that individual, attempted to negotiate with that individual and that’s when he raised his firearm, pointing it at the officers that were on scene,” said Sarah Jensen, with the Norman Police Department.
“I heard on the intercom ‘Get on your knees.’ I seen a guy on his knees at gunpoint,” Damon Garcia, a resident at the complex, told News 4. “Next thing I know, he was antagonizing the cops. Then I heard the assault rifles go off twice, watched the guy fall on the ground. Something was wrong with him; seemed like mental illness or he was high on something.”
All of the witnesses said the officers tried to subdue the suspect with a sand bag gun before the real shots were fired but they couldn’t see if the suspect had a weapon.
“He acted like he went to grab for something, and I didn’t see if he had anything and that’s when the shooting occurred,” Garcia said.
The suspect, who was identified as 31-year-old Ronnie Miller III, was rushed to a nearby hospital.
On Thursday, the Norman Police Department released the body-camera footage from the shooting, hoping it will clear up any question of whether Miller had a weapon.
“They were informed by the family members who had seen the weapon, who had been threatened by the weapon and the officers saw the weapon when they arrived,” said Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey.
On the body-camera footage, a Norman police officer can be heard negotiating with Miller for almost 25 minutes.
“Keep your hand away from your waistband,” an officer can be heard saying.
Eventually, the situation escalates.
“Get your hand off the gun," an officer said. "Get your hand off the gun!"
Humphrey believes the video proves Miller was armed at the time of the shooting.
“Then puts the gun to his side, points away from officers, turns back around with the gun in his hand, put the gun to point it toward the officers," Humphrey said. "At that time, the officers felt for their safety and the safety of others and fired."
Humphrey said officers were too far away to use a taser and a bean bag round could have made things even worse.
"If you utilize the possibility of that person becoming more agitated or more violent, it's more prevalent when you use a bean bag," he said.
Police said they felt they had to respond after cellphone video captured by witnesses caused a stir on social media.
“That called in question whether the subject that was involved in this incident was armed,” Humphrey said.
The witness who took the cell phone told News 4 he doesn’t believe Miller pointed the gun at the officers.
Miller remains in the hospital in critical condition.
Lt. Clay Bolin and Master Police Officer Chris Allison are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.