TULSA, OK – A grim-faced Robert Bates surrendered to Tulsa County authorities for booking on a charge of second degree manslaughter in the weekend shooting death of a suspect running from deputies.
Eric Harris was the target of a sting operation. He was making a break for freedom when deputies caught up with him.
Bates was one of the first to get to him, and that’s when things went very wrong.
Investigators say the 73-year-old insurance CEO, who doubles as a reserve deputy, thought he was grabbing his Taser, but pulled out his weapon instead, and shot Harris in the back.
Corbin Brewster is Bates’ attorney. “Mr. Bates was surrendered today and booked. In light of the charges, he's not going to make a statement. We will defend this in the court of law.”
Critics question whether Bates was qualified to be part of the sting.
“They’ve taken the fact that this man has been good to the community, and has been benevolent to the community, and has been a great citizen for our town, and made it something bad or sinister, and that's the unfortunate thing,” Brewster told reporters.
Brewster and the sheriff's office say Bates was experienced and qualified for the role.
It’s now up for the legal system to decide how much, if any, blame to lay on Bates.