TULSA — When Tulsa Police Officer Aurash Zarkeshan and Sergeant Craig Johnson were gunned down during a traffic stop in late June, few could have predicted that less than four months later, “Zark” would be back home and eager to return to service.
Sgt. Johnson died the next day, and by all accounts it was very much touch-and-go in the early days for the rookie officer.
He suffered grievous injures after he was shot in the head, and he was flown out of state to undergo additional surgeries and rehabilitation.
Thursday, he made his triumphant return to the city he nearly gave his life to protect, and he found a warm welcome upon his arrival at Tulsa International Airport.
While the public was not allowed to attend, there were dozens of fellow officers, friends, and family there to greet him.
Media were told they would not be allowed to speak with him, but at one point he walked over to the fence where reporters had gathered and made a brief statement.
“I’m just really, really happy to be back in Tulsa, finally, to be able to sleep in my own bed,” Zarkeshan said. “And all of Tulsa, thank you for everything you’ve done for me and my family, and Sergeant Johnson’s family. You guys are all amazing, thank you!”
Mayor G.T. Bynum told KRMG that when he’d last spoken to Zarkeshan, he’d told him he just wanted to come back to Tulsa, to return to work, and to eat at What-A-Burger, his favorite fast food restaurant.
Asked if he was heading to a What-a-Burger, he laughed.
“No,” he said, “save that for maybe tomorrow.”