OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — A rookie police officer is dead after being shot by a suspect during a routine traffic stop, say police.
Officer Justin Terney, 22, died Monday morning after being rushed into emergency surgery overnight, Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney said.
According to investigators, Terney pulled over a vehicle during a routine traffic stop in Tecumseh, a town located 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, at around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.
During the stop, one of the passengers in the car exited the vehicle as Terney checked with dispatchers to see if he had any outstanding warrants.
Police say Terney used a stun gun on the man but it was ineffective and the suspect, who was armed with a weapon, opened fire. Terney returned fire but not before being hit by bullets three times.
Terney had just recently graduated from police academy last summer, Kidney said.
“He was a very young officer, just getting a start,” he said. “He was taken way too soon.”
Kidney says Terney had just bought a new puppy and hoped to work the department’s K-9 unit.
Monday afternoon, about a dozen law enforcement vehicles lined Tecumseh street where the shooting took place. About a half-mile south, Delbert Roller, owner of Roller Dirt Farm and Mini Storage, lowered his flag to half-staff in honor of the rookie officer.
“Whenever I heard the officer passed, I put her down,” Roller, a retired firefighter, told News OK (http://newsok.com/article/5543159).
“It hits home,” he said. Whether it’s tribal or city police or firefighters “we’re all one big family.”
“One thing about Justin, he was always smiling,” said City Manager Jimmy Stokes of Terney. “I never knew if he was mad or not, because he always had a smile.”
The suspect, who has not yet been identified, was also shot and remains in intensive care. “If it is who we think this person is, there’s a possibility that he has some warrants,” Kidney said. “That could be the reason that he ran.”
Funeral arrangements for officer Terney are pending.