Bill that honors fallen Oklahoma officer passes Senate

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure that honors a fallen Oklahoma police officer has passed the Oklahoma Senate.

Around 3:30 a.m. on Monday, two officers with the Tulsa Police Department pulled over a vehicle in the 8900 block of East 21st Street.

Investigators say the officers asked the driver, David Ware, to get out of his vehicle 12 times. When he refused, a taser was deployed.

When that didn’t work, officials say the officers attempted to spray Ware with pepper spray.

When Ware was out of the vehicle, authorities say Ware pulled out a gun and started firing at the officers.

“The bullets found their mark, struck the officers, and the officers were critically injured. The officers went down and the driver slowly walked away from the vehicle and got into a waiting vehicle that had arrived to the scene and drove away,” said Chief Wendell Franklin, with the Tulsa Police Department.

Sgt. Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan were both shot multiple times and rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

Ware was ultimately arrested several hours later in Broken Arrow. The man who was behind the wheel of the getaway car, Matthew Hall, was also taken into custody.

Sgt. Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan
Sgt. Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan

Sadly, officials with the Tulsa Police Department announced that Johnson passed away from his injuries.

“He sustained multiple gunshot wounds, one of which was critical. He underwent surgery. Doctors and nurses attempted and tried everything that they could to save his life. Today, Sgt. Craig Johnson passed away,” said Chief Franklin.

He left behind his wife and two young boys.

Johnson joined the Tulsa Police Department in 2005 and was assigned to the Mingo Valley Division as a graveyard shift supervisor.

“Craig’s passing is a tremendous loss to our department. I want to thank the Johnson family for sharing Sgt. Craig Johnson with us, for allowing him to be a part of our department, and for allowing him to serve this community. His sacrifice will not go unremembered,” he said.

Now, lawmakers at the Oklahoma Capitol are honoring his sacrifice.

Sen. Chuck Hall authored Senate Bill 1, also known as the Sgt. Craig Johnson Oklahoma Scrap Metal Dealers Act.

“Sergeant Johnson was actively involved in helping us craft this legislation—he even came to visit me in my hometown of Perry.  I was devastated when I heard he’d been killed in the line of duty,” Hall said.  “It was a privilege to refile the bill for the 58th Legislature and honor Sergeant Johnson’s life and service by naming the legislation for him.”

The measure ensures all relevant laws are in one place in the statues, making it easier for scrap metal dealers and other buyers to see exactly what is required to comply.

The bill also tightens requirements for seller identification and adds remote storage batteries to the list of regulated materials.

“Sergeant Johnson was passionate about public safety and helping the working group better understand this particular crime,” Hall said. “The bill was on track last session to become law until the Capitol was shut down because of COVID-19.  But I’m thankful we can use this as an opportunity to pay tribute to a true Oklahoma hero.”

The bill now heads to the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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