Oklahoma man shot dead by police had high level of PCP, coroner finds

Video taken by a Tulsa Police helicopter shows Terence Crutcher walking along a roadway on Sept. 16 when he is confronted by a police officer. Crutcher, who was shot once during the ordeal and died from his wounds, was found by the Oklahoma medical examiner on Tuesday to have had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system at the time of the shooting. Image courtesy Tulsa Police Department

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 11 (UPI) — An Oklahoma man who was shot dead by a Tulsa police officer during a confrontation last month had high levels of PCP in his system at the time of his death, a medical examiner said Tuesday.

Terence Crutcher was walking near his stopped vehicle on a Tulsa roadway on Sept. 16 when two officers stopped on their way to another call. The officers, Tyler Turnbough and Betty Shelby, said Crutcher was behaving erratically and did not respond to their commands.

Police said Crutcher was zapped with a stun gun before Shelby fired on him once. Before he was shot, Crutcher had his hands raised but lowered one when he returned to his vehicle, video of the incident shows.

Crutcher was shot in the right side and the bullet penetrated his heart, officials said.

The officers said Crutcher stopped his vehicle in the middle of the road, left the engine running and began walking along the roadway. They said he was rambling nonsensically and wouldn’t obey commands — behavior consistent with the coroner’s finding of PCP in an autopsy report performed by the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The autopsy found 96 nanograms of PCP per milliliter of blood, the report said, which is considered a high level. The coroner also said traces of tenocyclidine, a drug related to PCP, were also found. No other illicit drugs were found in Crutcher’s body.

The officers said they also found a vial containing PCP, a drug that can trigger powerful hallucinations, in Crutcher’s SUV.

Crutcher was found to be unarmed, but the officers involved said they could not have known that since the 40-year-old Tulsa resident refused to obey orders.

Shelby, 42, was charged last month with manslaughter. She has pleaded not guilty.

It wasn’t immediately clear if or how the coroner’s findings will impact the case against Shelby. Prosecutors said previously that she overreacted in an unreasonable manner.


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