CHICKASHA, Okla. – Authorities in Grady County determined that an officer had “less than one second” to react to a man pointing a firearm in his direction.
In November, officers with the Chickasha Police Department were called to a home in the 1900 block of Montana after family members to report an intoxicated man with a gun.
Family members told dispatchers that 56-year-old Steve Vananda was inside the home with his father, Sanford Vananda, and they were worried about his safety.
When officers arrived, Officer King stood by the front door of the home to wait for another officer to back him up.
However, Officer King heard screaming and immediately decided to go into the home.
According to a letter released by Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks, King heard someone say, “You’re not above me anymore.”
At that point, King announced his presence and as he turned the corner, saw Steve Vananda grab a gun.
“During this, Officer King instructed Steve Vananda on multiple occasions to ‘drop the gun,” the letter stated.
After Vananda pointed the gun in his direction, Officer King shot and killed Steve Vananda.
Authorities later learned that Steve Vananda did fire his weapon in Officer King’s direction, but King fired the first round.
Following an investigation, the district attorney determined that Officer King’s actions were justified, adding that he had “less than one second to make a determination as to whether he should fire his weapon.”
Officials say that Officer King’s body cam captured the entire incident, making it clear that Steve Vananda grabbed the gun after hearing the officer say “police department.”
“In a split second decision, Officer King chose to protect Sanford Vananda, Officers Kerr and Peck and himself. It is obvious that if Steve Vananda were to fire upon any of the officers first, one of them could have easily died as a result,” the letter states.