OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Police Chief said he’s frustrated after the recent ruling of a man convicted of shooting at an officer during a domestic disturbance.
“You allow someone who shot at a police officer to have the opportunity to get out. To me, there’s the potential that that happens again,” said OKC Police Chief Wade Gourley.
Back in January 2021, Officer Braden Downs responded to a domestic disturbance call near Northeast 50th and Martin Luther King Avenue. Police said the suspect, Joel Lewis, was in his doorway waiting for the officer with a pistol.
“Right as he’s walking up to the house, before he even gets up on the porch, he’s taking gunfire,” said Gourley. “Almost dead center, almost right where your heart is.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind had officer downs not been wearing the ballistic armor, that he was where that round struck him, it would most definitely killed him,” said the chief.
Officer Downs fired back at Lewis, hitting him in the leg. Both the officer and the suspect were rushed to the hospital. They both recovered from their wounds.
On January 19, 2022, Lewis entered a blind plea and let Judge Ray Elliot decide his fate. Lewis was sentenced to six years in prison with credit for time already served.
“Which, basically under Oklahoma law, probably will amount to about four years in prison,” said Gourley.
Gourley called the shooting a deliberate attack.
“If they’ll shoot at a police officer, they’ll shoot at anyone else,” he said. “I’d like to see him spend as much time in jail as possible. I mean, where he could never get out and do this again.”
The chief said the department believes the sentencing sends the wrong message.
“It’s very important that our officers know that that they’re supported,” said the chief. “And those that are out there that are willing to do harm need to know that if they do commit an act like this, that they’re going to go to prison for a long time, if not the rest of their life.”
Now, Gourley is calling for the case to be looked at again.
“People talk about all the time, officers need to be held accountable. Well, I think, you know, the community and our justice system should be accountable,” the chief said.
News 4 did reach out to Joel Lewis’ attorney. So far, we have not heard back.
Downs is back on the job and is allegedly frustrated by the sentencing.