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Police officers cleared in fatal shooting

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Two Midwest City police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing following a fatal shooting of a 69-year-old woman last month, according to the Oklahoma County District Attorney.

Wilma Taft was shot and killed by Sgt. Bobby Harris and Officer Van Ninh on Oct. 18 during a domestic call at a home in the 9600 block of Sonata Ct. The officers said they shot Taft after she pointed a loaded gun at them and refused commands to drop the weapon.

Taft was rushed to a local hospital where she passed away.

District Attorney David Prater determined that the officers had no other choice and were “legally justified to exercise deadly force and to defend themselves and each other.”

Officers were called to the house about 10:27 p.m. after Taft called 911 about a verbal argument with her disabled husband. Ninh was dispatched to the home with Harris and officer Balentine responding as backup.

When Nihn arrived at the home, he spoke with Taft on the front porch. He asked Taft if she was “okay,” but her response was unintelligible. The other officers arrived about 30 seconds later. Another officer used his flashlight to illuminate the dark porch and saw that Taft was holding a small pistol and pointing it at the officers. All three officers commanded her to drop the weapon.

As the officers moved away, Taft raised the pistol to near shoulder level.

Nihn and Harris fired at Taft five times. The officers attempted to give medical aid. She was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her family told investigators she suffered from depression.

Taft’s pistol was chamber loaded with one live round, but it did not have a magazine loaded. The gun had the “safety” engaged. Prater believed that the woman attempted to fire the gun at the officers.

“Though Taft’s pistol was loaded, and the striker was cocked, it could not fire while the safety was engaged,” he said. “This clarifies why the pistol did not fire when Taft attempted to pull the trigger.”

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