Sheriff: No video available of fatal shooting

DERRICK JAMES | Staff photoLaw enforcement officials investigate the scene of the Oct. 11 sheriff's deputy-involved fatal shooting of Sayven Lane Rowland in rural Pittsburg County.

Deputies who fatally shot a 19-year-old man were not outfitted with any recording devices because the sheriff said the department can't afford the equipment.

Two Pittsburg County sheriff's deputies are on administrative leave following the fatal shooting of Sayven Lane Rowland near Pittsburg on Oct. 11. Deputies pursued Rowland for illegally operating a four-wheeler in Pittsburg before he crashed, "brandished a firearm" and was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said his department can't afford to outfit deputies with either dash or body cameras.

“It would be about $16,000 for the cameras, but then you have to have a server to hold the video,” Morris said. He estimated the total cost would be between $20,000 and $25,000.

The sheriff said his department was recently denied two grants to outfit his deputies with body cameras — one through the Department of Justice and the other through Firehouse Subs’ Public Safety Foundation, which has helped fund equipment for multiple agencies nationwide.

Morris said deputies were conducting extra patrol around Pittsburg due to recent complaints of thefts and erratic drivers involving four-wheelers.

“We’ve had several over the past year, over the past two to three years, we’ve had several complaints of burglaries and people riding around on four-wheelers stealing things,” Morris said.

He expects the names of the deputies to be released after their interview with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The agency is conducting the investigating into the incident.

Morris said a deputy at the District 2 County Barn in Pittsburg saw Rowland illegally operating a four-wheeler on a county road and the deputy attempted to make a traffic stop on Rowland.

The deputy called in a pursuit at 7:08 p.m. Friday before Rowland crashed the four-wheeler one minute later near the intersection of Pittsburg Road and Staples Road, according to a radio log obtained by the News-Capital.

Morris said after Rowland crashed, he refused commands and a deputy unsuccessfully used a pepper ball gun on the suspect before Rowland “brandished a firearm."

The radio log states a deputy called into dispatch at 7:10 p.m. with “shots fired” and to start medics.

Audio recordings obtained through Broadcastify show McAlester Fire Department medics were dispatched to the scene as Pafford EMS did not have ambulances available at the time. First responders from the Kiowa Fire Department were also dispatched to the scene, the audio recordings show.

Deputies advised at 7:18 p.m. that Rowland had “multiple gunshots wounds to upper torso," was “possibly wounded from the crash” and that first aid was being administered. Rowland was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Morris said investigators found a gun, a knife, and the stock of a rifle on Rowland.

Court documents show a warrant was issued for Rowland’s arrest on Oct. 9 after a motion to revoke three suspended sentences was made by the District 18 District Attorney’s Office.

Rowland was serving three concurrent suspended sentences for reckless conduct with a firearm, resisting an officer, and obstructing an officer — all three being misdemeanor offenses.

Documents show Rowland was serving two, seven-year concurrent sentences for felony burglary in the second degree and felony possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

A probable cause affidavit states Rowland received the five charges after deputies responded in May to a burglary in progress on South Brewer Road. Rowland was later arrested after firing a shot inside the residence and running from deputies. The affidavit states that a gun was found under Rowland after he was placed into custody.

The DA’s office said the prosecutor who recommended the deferred sentence on Rowland was not authorized to do so and is no longer employed with the office.

Morris said he did not believe his deputies knew about the warrant being issued as a copy of the warrant wasn’t sent to his office until Monday morning.

“We probably may have known one was coming out, but I don’t think they were aware of the warrant because they were just looking for four-wheelers,” Morris said. 

Morris said the deputies were not 100% sure who Rowland was when the pursuit began, but one of the deputies was “pretty sure” it was the same individual who successfully fled from the deputy two weeks ago.

OSBI agents were called to investigate the shooting and arrived at the scene at 9:17 p.m., according to the radio log.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

Recommended for you