Home / National News / Oklahoma Reserve Deputy, 73, Charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter in Stun-Gun Mix-Up: Tulsa DA


(TULSA, Okla.) — The 73-year-old volunteer reserve deputy in Oklahoma accused of fatally shooting a suspect in an incident that the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office called “inadvertent” has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Eric Harris was shot and killed on April 2 after reserve deputy Robert Bates allegedly mistook his own handgun for a stun-gun, officials said.

“Mr. Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence. Oklahoma law defines culpable negligence as ‘the omission to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the lack of the usual ordinary care and caution in the performance of an act usually and ordinarily exercised by a person under similar circumstances and conditions,’” Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a statement.

“The defendant is presumed to be innocent under the law but we will be prepared to present evidence at future court hearings.”

ABC News has been unable to reach Bates, and a message left at his daughter’s home has not been returned.

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office released video of the incident on Sunday. In the video, Bates can be heard saying, “I shot him. I’m sorry.”

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