Suspect who killed Tulsa officer had threatened him in prior encounter

Police records show the suspect threatened to kill Sgt. Craig Johnson when he was first arrested in 2006


By Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. — A man suspected of killing a Tulsa police officer had threatened to kill the officer during the man's run-in with local police years prior, according to police records.

David Anthony Ware, 32, is being held in the Tulsa County jail on multiple charges in connection to the fatal shooting of Tulsa Police Sgt. Craig Johnson, 45, in June and the shooting of Officer Aurash Zarkeshan, 26.

In 2006, Ware encountered Johnson when he was first arrested as an adult at the age of 18, according to police records. Police were called to an apartment complex where they reportedly found an intoxicated Ware urinating outside.

The backup officer who accompanied Johnson wrote in his report that Ware kicked at and threatened to harm Johnson, the Tulsa World reported.

“The subject also continued to threaten violent acts upon Officer Johnson saying that he was going to kill Officer Johnson," the officer added to his report, which the newspaper obtained through sources.

Tulsa Sgt. Craig Johnson was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop Monday, June 29. (Photo/Tulsa Police Department)
Tulsa Sgt. Craig Johnson was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop Monday, June 29. (Photo/Tulsa Police Department)

Prosecutors and Tulsa police declined to comment on whether Ware might have recognized Johnson as the officer who arrested him in 2006.

Tulsa County prosecutors have charged Ware in 10 other cases in the 14 years before his arrest, according to public court documents. Seven were allegations of felony offenses, and three were misdemeanors.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said many charges have been dismissed.

“Oftentimes, cases that come to the District Attorney’s Office present themselves with facts and circumstances that would justify the filing of a criminal charge. As those cases move through the criminal process, there are many instances in which prosecutors have to determine: Can they actually put that case on in front of a judge or jury and have a reasonable expectation of conviction?” Kunzweiler told the newspaper.

Matthew Nicholas Hall, 29, has also been arrested in connection with the shootings. Prosecutors allege he was the driver of a getaway car Ware used to leave the scene. Hall is charged with being an accessory to murder and a separate count of being an accessory to a felony.

Associated Press
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