The Tulsa County District Attorney’s office ruled on Friday that Tulsa Police Officer Mark Wollmershauser’s use of deadly force during a drug warrant search was justified.
Narcotics and gang squad officers went to a house in north Tulsa on March 24 to serve a high-risk, drug-related search warrant.
Deandre Starks, 27, was shot once by Tulsa Police Officer Mark Wollmershauser and was pronounced dead at a Tulsa hospital.
The following information was sent to KRMG in a press release.
“Officers serving the warrant said Starks ignored numerous commands from three different officers to “show your hands” and “let me see your hands.” Starks ignored those commands and kept moving his hands in a furtive motion in the front area of his hoodie and waistband area.
The investigation later revealed that Starks originally attempted to break out a window in the back of the house to escape but was driven back into the house by officers deploying less lethal pepper balls. Ultimately it was discovered he did not have a gun but was found in possession of rocks of crack cocaine, the subject of the lawful search warrant.
An extensive investigation of the shooting showed that the officer perceived and he reasonably believed the use of force was necessary to protect himself, other officers and other persons present from the potential infliction of serious bodily harm or death.
“The death of Deandre Starks is a tragic event and I grieve for him, his family and our community,” said Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris. “Our examination of the facts, witness statements and investigation, lead to the conclusion that the use of deadly force was justified under the circumstances and the law,” Harris said.
Two other Tulsa police officers present in the room where the shooting occurred were questioned about the circumstances in separate interviews by separate interrogators. The officers’ recall of the events leading up to use of deadly force was corroborated by lay witness observations.