EDMOND, Okla. – Officials with the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office are releasing more information about a deadly officer-involved shooting that claimed the life of an Edmond teenager earlier this year.
The district attorney’s office says that on April 28, Isaiah Lewis’ girlfriend and family members noted that he was not acting like himself.
The next day, Lewis’ girlfriend, Kamri Pollock, told investigators that he started “making statements about being watched and tracked by the government.” At one point, he even took her phone because “he thought something was on it or that the government could access her phone.”
After ordering food, Pollock said the couple smoked ‘wax,’ which is a substance with the consistency of soft candle wax but has a high THC concentrate.
Lewis’ girlfriend said that Lewis became agitated, grabbed a metal cross and slammed it down on a table. Lewis then accused her of not loving him. At one point, she says she got her phone and locked herself in a bathroom.
However, Lewis kicked the bathroom door open and began wrestling the phone away from her. She said they were both yelling loudly at each other when a delivery driver arrived at the house.
After handing over the food, the delivery driver ran to a neighbor’s house and asked that she call 911 because she believed a woman was being assaulted.
Pollock said she tried to tell the delivery driver that she was OK, but the neighbor called 911 anyway.
“There are two girls, two white ladies. I guess their boyfriend is beating up on one of them,” a 911 caller said.
The caller then handed the phone to Pollock.
“You can come to my house and check everything out but my boyfriend just flipped out,” Pollock said on the 911 call. “I have no idea what’s going on.”
Moments later, neighbors called police after seeing a naked man running in the street and hopping over fences. When officers were searching for Lewis, they found him breaking into the home of a complete stranger.
At some point, police say a physical confrontation occurred between officers and Lewis.
“Both officers were violently assaulted during this confrontation inside the house,” Jenny Wagnon, from the Edmond Police Department, told News 4.
“With his taser pointed at Lewis, [Sgt. Milo Box] commanded Lewis to stop and put his hands up. Lewis charged Box and Box responded by firing his taser at Lewis. The taser probes made good contact with Lewis’ body and the taser began to cycle. The taser cycle had no effect and Lewis continued to charge Box. Again, Box fired his taser at Lewis. The taser cycled, but resulted in no response from Lewis.
Lewis began to punch Box in the face and head area. Box attempted to ‘drive stun’ Lewis with his taser, but this had no result. Lewis continued to punch Box about the head and face. Sgt. Box reported that he realized that he was losing the ability to fight back and had difficulty standing. Box said he realized he was about to go unconscious,” the report from the district attorney’s office read.
After tasing Lewis, police say they were forced to shoot him.
“Our use of force training is initially hands-on and then to deploy a taser,” Wagnon said in May. “And we know both of those happened and then firing the handgun is protocol if the first two are not successful.”
Another officer reported that he saw Lewis punching Sgt. Box and drew his pistol, yelling at Lewis to stop and get on the ground. He reported that Lewis charged him. The officer said that he backed up several times toward the entryway, but Lewis continued to charge toward him with his arms swinging.
At one point, Lewis punched the other officer in the head. The officer, Denton Scherman, said he was concerned he would lose consciousness if he was punched again. Scherman fired several shots, but said Lewis continued to try and tackle him. He says he fired again, which knocked Lewis to the ground.
However, Lewis’ family says the officers didn’t need to use deadly force.
“He was not armed,” Vicki Lewis, Isaiah Lewis’ mother, said. “He didn’t deserve to die the way that he did. He didn’t deserve to die, period. ”
After the shooting, Box was taken to the hospital for injuries suffered during the confrontation.
According to the toxicology report, Lewis had diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in his system when he died.
Now, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says he has determined that the officers’ actions were justified in shooting Lewis. However, he says investigators still don’t know what caused Lewis’ strange behavior.
“Many of the questions about what led to the officer-involved shooting death of Isaiah Lewis are not fully answered by the investigation of the shooting that occurred on April 29, 2019. On that day, something unknown manifested itself in Isaiah Lewis, causing him to behave uncharacteristically paranoid, detached from reality, and violent.
Isaiah Lewis was a young man who was loved by his family and friends. He was about to graduate high school. He seemed to be a normal teenager. Lewis’ parents reported that in the days leading up to April 29th, the day he died, his behavior was inconsistent with his normal behavior. He was not out of control or violent, but he seemed to be experiencing something unusual for him. He was having trouble sleeping and exhibited hyperactive characteristics. His parents were concerned that he may have been taking some type of drug that was causing the behavioral changes, but there was not anything reported by Lewis’ parents that would tend to indicate he ingested any narcotic or hallucinogen that would explain Lewis’ behavior.”
The report goes on to state that although his friends reported that Lewis regularly smoked marijuana, the level of THC found during Lewis’ toxicology did not concern medical experts.
Officials also stress that Lewis had no reported history of mental health issues.
Lewis’ family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Edmond and its officers.
On Tuesday, officials with the Edmond Police Department released the following statement:
“The City of Edmond and the Edmond Police Department respect the judicial process and the District Attorney’s decision regarding the death of Isaiah Lewis. While the District Attorney’s decision concludes the criminal component of this incident, pending civil litigation continues to limit comments that representatives of the City can share.”