Jury selection begins for man accused of killing Oklahoma officer

TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – A man accused of killing an Oklahoma police officer and injuring another is to stand trial.

In June 2020, two Tulsa Police Department officers stopped a vehicle in the 8900 block of East 21st Street.

Investigators say officers asked the driver, David Ware, to get out of his vehicle 12 times. When he refused, a taser was deployed.

When that didn’t work, officials said officers tried to spray Ware with pepper spray.

When Ware was out of the vehicle, authorities said Ware pulled out a gun and began shooting at officers.

“The bullets found their target, hit the officers and the officers were seriously injured. Officers got out and the driver slowly walked away from the vehicle and into a waiting vehicle that had arrived at the scene and departed,” Tulsa Police Department Chief Wendell Franklin said.

sergeant. Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan were both shot multiple times and rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

sergeant. Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan

Sadly, officials from the Tulsa Police Department announced that Johnson died of his injuries the following day.

“Yesterday he suffered multiple gunshot wounds, one of which was critical. He underwent surgery. Doctors and nurses tried and tried everything they could to save his life. Today , Sgt. Craig Johnson has passed away,” Chief Franklin said.

Zarkeshan, who is a freshman in the department, continued to improve after being transferred to a rehabilitation center. He is now back with the force.

Aurash Zarkeshan
Aurash Zarkeshan

Ware faces multiple charges, including first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill. He pleaded not guilty.

Officials also arrested Matthew Hall, who they believe was Ware’s getaway driver at the scene. Hall was found guilty of two counts of accessory to a crime and sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Jury selection began Monday for Ware’s trial and is expected to continue next week.

The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office said it was seeking the death penalty in the case.

Martin E. Berry