Man accused of shooting, killing Tulsa police officer, injuring another pleads not guilty

David Ware

David Ware

TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – A man accused of shooting two Tulsa police officers, killing one of them, entered a plea of not guilty in court this week.

Around 3:30 a.m. on June 29, 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 allegedly 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.

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 the next day.

“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, started to improve.

Aurash Zarkeshan
Aurash Zarkeshan

Family members said Zarkeshan was responsive to tests being conducted and also reacted to visitors.

Eventually, doctors were even able to remove his breathing tube.

“The rehabilitation is going great with his physical strength improving to the point that he can stand. He is well ahead of where the doctors expected him to be given the injuries that he sustained,” the department posted on Facebook.

According to KJRH, Zarkeshan has been released from the hospital. He will now be transferred to an out-of-state rehab facility.

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 is facing several charges, including murder in the first degree and shooting with intent to kill.

According to online court records, during his arraignment on Thursday, he entered a plea of not guilty.

He has a hearing set for Monday, July 20.

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

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