DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – The victim of an officer-involved shooting Saturday at Walmart in Del City is facing assault and theft charges. So far neither police nor the district attorney have stated whether the off-duty Langston University Police officer may face charges, but the investigation is ongoing.
Kenneth Lee Simmons, 28, was arrested on a complaint of petty larceny and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
According to the arrest affidavit, asset protection employees at Walmart said they witnessed Simmons try to leave the store with a television he didn’t pay for. It states Simmons admitted to “taking a television past the last point of sale and leaving it between the two exit doors.”
The asset protection employees called the Langston University off-duty police officer who was hired as a security guard, who confronted the suspect, and witnesses said they saw him spray Simmons with “mace.”
Part of the incident was caught on cell phone camera; the security guard is seen trying to wrestle Simmons out of the vehicle.
Simmons appears to reverse the car, and that’s when the security guard pulls out his gun and shoots 11 rounds into and at the back of the vehicle.
Simmons was hit but continued to flee. He was later taken to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center with a gunshot wound.
So far, Del City police said they won’t identify the officer until District Attorney David Prater has had a chance to look at the case. They wouldn’t comment on whether the officer is being investigated, saying only that charges would be up to Prater. A receptionist at Prater’s office said he wouldn’t be in the office all week.
When KFOR tried to find out if the officer had been placed on administrative leave, the person who picked up the phone at the Langston University Police Department said “no comment” and hung up the phone. A spokesperson for the school did not answer the question, instead sending a statement that said, “The officer was not performing duties on behalf of Langston University at that time of the incident. The Langston University Police Department intends to cooperate with the Del City Police Department if assistance is requested.”
A Walmart spokesperson declined to comment on the store’s policy regarding security guards and use of force on suspected thieves, saying only in a statement, “We are working with law enforcement as part of an ongoing investigation, and would defer any additional questions to them.”
Del City police Maj. Bradely Rule said on Saturday that it’s typical for an off-duty officer hired as security to be armed.
“They have their inside asset protection people that stay inside the store, they don’t pursue people to the outside, but they have…they pay off-duty police officers from various agencies to come and work,” Maj. Rule said.
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