Family: Tulsa officer “improving hour by hour” after shooting

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma police officer is making progress after being shot during a traffic stop on Monday morning.

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.

“Yesterday, 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.

Authorities with the police department say Zarkeshan, who is a rookie with the department, is improving.

Aurash Zarkeshan
Aurash Zarkeshan

Family members say Zarkeshan is responsive to tests that are being conducted and is also reacting to visitors.

“Aurash is improving hour by hour. He is responsive to tests being conducted by the hospital staff and also reacting to visiting family and loved ones. The family is very hopeful and happy with the progress that Aurash has shown to this point. The doctor has said that if he continues to progress at this rate that Aurash may be moved out of ICU next week. The family expresses extreme gratitude for all of the support that they have received from Mayor Bynum, his staff, and the Tulsa Police Department. The family further extends their heartfelt thanks for all of the gifts and support that they have received from the community at large, the hospital, and its incredible staff.”

Family statement released by Tulsa Police Department

Zarkeshan started at the Tulsa Police Academy in 2019 and completed his training in May. He was out on patrol for only six weeks.

Ware has been charged with two counts of shooting with intent to kill, possession of a firearm after a felony conviction and accessory to a felony. Those charges will likely be updated after Johnson’s death.

If you would like to donate to the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police Benevolence Fund, click here.

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