Man shot, killed by deputy at Rush Springs home following disturbance

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RUSH SPRINGS, Okla. - The family of a man shot and killed by police in Rush Springs is speaking out for the first time.

The investigation is still underway, but authorities have released the intense 911 call made moments before the shooting.

Up a gravel driveway just off Highway 17 is where Tommy Vandemark lived.

"He would do anything for me,” Jeanie Easterwood, his niece, said.

"As far as I'm concerned, my dad, but in reality he's my uncle," Mike Easterwood said.

Just before 10 p.m. on Wednesday night, the unthinkable happened.

Dispatcher: "911. What is your emergency?"


Caller: "G*******, stop hitting me."

The woman who made the call was an acquaintance of Vandemark's, and family members say the two started arguing over money.

Since the woman is an alleged victim of domestic abuse., NewsChannel 4 is withholding her name, but family members say that's not the case.

"He told her to leave. She says, 'I am not leaving this property.' Then Tommy goes to cussing at her,” Mike Easterwood said. "I told the police officer she is not a victim here. I promise you that."

Caller: "Better bring more than that m***** f*****."

Caller: "Better bring more than that, because I'll blow your god  d*** head off."

Caller: "Inaudible. Stay away. Go away....he's got a gun, god d*** it."

Witnesses and authorities say Vandemark had a gun.

"He had a gun after she provoked him,” Mike Easterwood said. "Because she was provoking a veteran of a war to do this."

When deputies arrived, things quickly escalated.

"He pulled up to the scene. The individual came out between two parked vehicles with a handgun in his hand,” Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir said. “The officer immediately saw the gun, told him to drop it."

That's when authorities say the officer pulled out his gun and several times told Vandemark to drop his weapon.

"He refused to comply. He was verbally aggressive and belligerent toward the officer,” Weir said. “He finally made an aggressive move and the officer felt his life was in danger and the officer fired one shot, striking the subject. He fell immediately and did not move."

The case is being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the medical examiner’s office.

Once those reports are complete, the district attorney will determine if that officer was justified in shooting and killing Vandemark.

The officer who pulled the trigger in on paid administrative leave.

Warning: Audio contains graphic content. 


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