An Oklahoma police officer is accused of firing his gun at two teenagers he caught making out in a car parked in a public school lot.
The Tulsa Public Schools police officer, whose name has not been released, spotted the couple about 1:30 a.m. Sunday on the campus of Eliot Elementary School.
The officer went to the car and questioned the couple, whom he said had alcohol in the car but were underage, and he said the driver refused to cooperate, backed up, and drove away.
“[He] tried to get away in the car, and apparently [the officer] shot at the vehicle,” said Chris Payne, a spokesman for the school district.
Tulsa police said the officer apparently fired one shot that struck the vehicle’s rear left tire.
“A 17-year-old kid behind a 3,000-pound car is dangerous if he doesn’t know what he is doing, and I think that is where we are at odds,” said Sgt. David Walker, of Tulsa police. “He shot into a car that had kids, but that car was doing something in the officer’s mind that can put us in peril.”
Investigators identified the 17-year-old driver, who told them he was just trying to leave when he drove away.
But the public schools officer, who is fully certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, said he felt threatened by the driver’s actions and fired his service weapon.
“Our police officers are all CLEET certified, so they are real police officers,” said Payne, adding that the officer had a right to carry the weapon.
Investigators will determine whether he used the firearm properly, but school officials said the teens were not permitted to be on the school campus.
“We have really sound security,” Payne said. “It would really be unwise to be doing anything after hours.”
The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
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