Testimonies start in trial for Oklahoma City police officer who shot suicidal man to death

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Testimony began Thursday in the trial for an Oklahoma City police officer Keith Sweeney, who’s charged with shooting and killing a man in 2017.

Investigators say Dustin Pigeon was suicidal, unarmed and not a threat to officers.

The trial started with a dispatch operator being questioned about the call log from the night of the shooting. The original 911 call said there was drunk man wanting to kill himself.

Officer Erik Howell, who was with Sweeney that night, was questioned.

Howell, who had been a police officer for about four years at the time, was asked about his background and how much mental health training he had.

He said he turned on his body camera the night of the shooting when he saw Pigeon holding lighter fluid when he pulled up.

Howell was working with officer Troy Nitzky, and Nitzky went to grab a bean bag gun to get Pigeon to drop the lighter fluid.

Howell testified that Sweeney came after and shot Pigeon with his gun, killing him.

Through the questioning, the state kept asking if Howell felt he was in danger at any point.  Howell said no, and he never drew his own gun.

The jury was also shown evidence, including the body camera video from Howell. It was extremely emotional for Pigeon`s family, and several had to step out of the courtroom.

Sweeney didn’t show much emotion throughout the day, even when others in the courtroom were shaken by what they were seeing.

The trial continues Friday morning.

Correction: KFOR incorrectly referred to Sweeney as a former police officer and that error has been corrected. 


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