Oklahoma City Officers Shoot, Kill Deaf Man (Photo) - Opposing Views

Oklahoma City Officers Shoot, Kill Deaf Man (Photo)

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A deaf and nonverbal Oklahoma man was shot and killed by police after he failed to respond to voice commands given by police officers.

Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was shot and killed by an Oklahoma City police officer after he did not adequately respond to verbal commands instructing him to put down a metal pipe and get on the ground, according to KFOR.

The officers, later identified as Lt. Matthew Lindsey and Sgt. Christopher Barnes, were responding to Sanchez's home after receiving a call about someone leaving the scene of a hit-and-run. Sanchez, who was both deaf and mentally disabled, was reportedly on the porch of the home holding a 2-foot metal pipe in his hand.

Officers instructed Sanchez to lower the pipe and to get on the ground, but Sanchez did not comply as he was unable to hear the officers' instructions. Neighbors say they were shouting at the officers to let them know Sanchez could not hear them.

"Myself and my daughter were actually screaming ... that he was deaf, that he couldn't hear anything," explained neighbor Julio Rayos, reports CNN. "And they proceeded on shooting him."

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Lindsey deployed his stun gun to subdue Sanchez while Barnes retrieved his firearm from its holster and proceeded to shoot. Both officers fired at the same time and Sanchez was pronounced dead at the scene, according to KFOR.

"The guy does movements," Rayos said. "He don't speak. He don't hear. So, mainly, it's hand movements that he does. That's how we communicated with him. And, he was actually I believe he was trying to, he was frustrated trying to tell them what was going on."

Oklahoma City Police Department Capt. Bo Matthews said he was not sure if the officers heard the shouts from neighbors that Sanchez was deaf and could not comment on further details, according to CNN.

"In those situations, very volatile situations, when you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision, or you can really lock in to just that person that has the weapon that'd be the threat against you," Mathews said. "Again, I don't know exactly what the officers were thinking at that point, because I was not there, but they very well could not have heard everybody yelling around them."

Barnes is on administrative leave while another department investigates the shooting.

The officers were responding to the home because Sanchez's father was believed to be a suspect in the hit-and-run, according to KFOR.

"I didn't sleep all night. So, it's sad, especially a guy that you see every day. You see him. He walks up and down the street every day. He waves hi to everybody. He was a real nice guy,” Rayos said. "I don't think he deserved to die like that."

Sources: KFOR, CNN / Featured Image: Eli Christman/Flickr / Embedded Images: KOKH-TV via Daily Mail, Yumi Kimura/Wikimedia Commons

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