Betty Shelby fired the shot that killed Terence Crutcher, who appeared in video recorded by a police dashcam and a helicopter to have his hands raised at the time. The police encountered Crutcher after coming across his vehicle stopped in the middle of a road in Tulsa.
While attorneys of Crutcher’s family have said a window of Crutcher’s car that he was standing near when he was killed was raised – citing blood splattered on the window – Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, insisted that the window was open and that Crutcher reached into it, failing to listen to several of Shelby’s commands.
Wood said Shelby believed Crutcher was retrieving a weapon from his car. She told homicide detectives afterward, “I was never so scared in my life as in that moment right then,” according to her attorney.
Shelby’s attorney and the Tulsa Police Department are standing behind her story.
Wood said the encounter between Shelby and Crutcher began more than a minute before the start of the released video.
A 911 caller reported that a man was running from an abandoned SUV parked in the middle of a street. Shelby, while responding to an unrelated call, came across the SUV and found Crutcher in the middle of the road, according to Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan.
According to Wood, Shelby said she thought it was odd that the SUV’s engine was still running, having initially assumed the vehicle was disabled.
Wood said Shelby approached the empty car and saw that the windows were open and that the doors were closed. Shelby then turned around to look into the driver’s side and saw Crutcher walking toward her, the attorney said.
Shelby’s attorney said Crutcher was uncooperative up to the point when the officer opened fire.