A deaf man holding a metal pipe was shot and killed by Oklahoma police as neighbors yelled to officers that the man couldn’t hear.
Magdiel Sanchez, 35, didn’t obey commands to drop the pipe before one cop shot him and another fired a Taser round, Oklahoma City Police Capt. Bo Mathews said at a Wednesday press conference. The two did not hear witnesses shouting, “He can’t hear you,” Mathews said.
“In those situations, very volatile situations, you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision, or you can really lock in to just the person that has the weapon that'd be the threat against you,” Mathews said. “I don’t know exactly what the officers were thinking at that point.”
Sanchez died on the front porch of his home, where he lived with his parents. Police investigating a hit-and-run report arrived at the house after a witness said the fleeing car was parked in the Sanchez’s driveway, Mathews said.
Sgt. Chris Barnes and Lt. Matthew Lindsey ordered Sanchez to put down the pipe, which measured about two feet and was attached to the deaf man’s wrist with a leather band, authorities said.
Instead, Sanchez walked toward them. When he was about two feet from the officers, they opened fire, Mathews said. Barnes, who fired the gun, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
Sanchez was also developmentally disabled and didn’t speak, neighbors told The Oklahoman.
“The guy does movements,” said neighbor Julio Rayos. “He don’t speak, he don’t hear. Mainly it’s hand movements. That’s how he communicates. I believe he was frustrated trying to tell them what was going [on].”
Sanchez always carried what they called a stick when walking the neighborhood because of stray dogs, residents said.
The driver of the car involved in the hit-and-run was Sanchez’s father, authorities said. The officers were not wearing body cams.
"I didn't sleep all night,” Rayos said “He was a real nice guy. I don't think he deserved to die like that."