Fallen Tulsa sergeant to be honored with upcoming legislation

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma police sergeant who lost his life after being shot in the line of duty will now be remembered at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

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 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 on Tuesday morning.

“…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 leaves 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 State Capitol say they are working to honor Johnson’s life and the work he did to protect the community.

Officials say Johnson was the Tulsa lead on a statewide coalition that was working on legislation and policies regarding copper wire theft.

Rep. Carol Bush says Johnson spearheaded the coalition and provided valuable insight from his experience from the front lines.

“Sergeant Johnson would often work a double shift and drive down for coalition meetings or legislative committee meetings. The only thing he asked for in return was a fresh cup of coffee to make it back home,” Bush said. “He was selfless when it came to serving his community and state. There is no greater hero than Sergeant Johnson, and I know he will be greatly missed by myself, other coalition members and members of the Tulsa Police Department.”

The original bill, House Bill 3031, was passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives prior to the session being interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bush says she plans to refile the legislation next session and will rename the bill in his honor.

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