TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma man charged with manslaughter in the death of a 15-year-old boy who was shot after an attempted theft at a Tulsa fireworks stand is standing trial in the case.
Authorities say 15-year-old Jake Ulrich was shot after he and his adult cousin allegedly tried to steal fireworks from the stand on Independence Day in 2017.
Investigators say 32-year-old Johnny Mize Jr., whose father owns the fireworks stand, exchanged gunfire with the alleged suspects.
Deputies say Mize jumped into the bed of the suspects’ pickup truck while he father got into his car and followed the suspects.
Ulrich was later found dead inside the truck, and police records show Mize told detectives that he couldn’t remember what happened after shooting one of the rear tires.
Mize was ultimately charged with one count of first-degree manslaughter in the case.
During opening statements, the defense said that he was acting in self-defense after he heard a loud pop and thought someone was shooting at him.
Defense attorneys say the victim was trying to steal, and that his client was simply trying to stop him from hurting his business on what is typically their busiest weekend of the year.
However, prosecutors say Mize acted first and asked questions later, saying he went too far when he killed Ulrich.