TULSA – Medical findings revealed Terence Crutcher had PCP in his system when he was shot Sept. 16 in Tulsa.
Crutcher, 40, died from a gunshot wound to his chest, according to the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office and had “acute phencyclidine intoxication.”
According to Courthouse News report, “Angel dust, or PCP, can alter mood states unpredictably and cause paranoia, depersonalization and loss of ego boundaries. The toxicology report also tentatively identified tenocyclidine, a hallucinogen similar to PCP, in Crutcher’s system.
Officer Betty Shelby, 42, who fatally shot Crutcher, was charged with first-degree manslaughter and has pleaded not guilty. On the day of the shooting, Crutcher’s car broke down in the middle of a roadway and he attempted to seek assistance from police. In the following footage, Crutcher is seen walking towards the police patrol car then slowly backed away with his hands raised. Shelby approached him with her gun drawn.
In the second video, Crutcher is seen approaching the driver side of his vehicle but is hidden from view as the helicopter moves around the passenger side. He then drops to the ground. Somebody yelling, “shots fired” is heard.
Before Crutcher was shot, he lowered one of his hands when he returned to his vehicle, police said. A Taser was used before Shelby shot him once.
According to Shelby, she thought Crutcher was on drugs and she fired on him after fearing he was reaching for a weapon in the window. However, no weapon was found.
An investigator for Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler believes Shelby “reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation” to “becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted” when shooting him, according to an affidavit.
On the other hand, Shelby’s attorney, Shannon McMurray, confirmed that Shelby feels the PCP justified her fear in pulling her weapon. “The charges were filed without there being a completed investigation,” McMurray said at a news conference Tuesday. “I feel confident, as the investigation unfolds and is released, that Officer Shelby was justified in her use of force.”
According to a UPI report, the officers said Crutcher began walking along the roadway and was rambling nonsensically and wouldn’t obey commands—behavior consistent with the coroner’s finding of PCP in the autopsy report.
The Crutcher family’s attorney, Bob Blakemore, said the presence of PCP “is a distraction and is utterly immaterial” to the key issue of whether the shooting was justified or not. “Unfortunately, the use of illicit drugs is common in this country. Those, like Mr. Crutcher, who struggle with addiction should receive treatment, not a bullet in the chest,” Blakemore added.
Shelby is currently free on a $50,000 bond and awaits trial. If convicted, she faces from four years to life in prison.