Oklahoma sergeant dies from injuries sustained in shooting

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma police department is coping with the loss of one of their own, who died 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.

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.

U.S. Senator James Lankford issued the following statement on Johnson’s death.

“Cindy and I are praying for the family of Sgt. Johnson and the entire Tulsa community as we grieve the loss of one of our own. The news is heartbreaking to the entire nation. We pray his family knows that Oklahomans everywhere mourn with them and pray for them today. Now is a time to band together in support of the police officers who serve with honor and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect everyone in our communities.”

U.S. Senator James Lankford

Lankford prayed for Johnson, Zarkeshan and their families on the Senate floor on Tuesday, according to a news release from Lankford’s office.

Gov. Kevin Stitt also expressed his condolences, releasing the following statement:

“My heart breaks for the family of Sergeant Craig Johnson and his fellow officers with the Tulsa Police Department. I ask Oklahomans to join the First Lady and me in continuing to pray for his family as well as for his fellow officers.

My hope is that Sgt. Johnson is forever remembered for the heroism, courage and bravery he displayed while protecting Tulsa for 15 years.

We will also continue to pray for a full recovery for Officer Aurash Zarkeshan, who was injured in the same senseless act of violence.

Our law enforcement officers need the support of their community now more than ever, and I encourage Oklahomans to find ways to show their support for those who keep them protected.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt

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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