FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Questions have arisen about the role of reserve deputies after investigators say a 73-year-old reserve deputy in Oklahoma shot a suspect to death.
The deadly shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma happened on April 2. Tulsa County Sheriff's Office deputies said their video showed suspect Eric Harris selling a pistol to an undercover agent. When Harris ran, the deputies chased him. That's when a body cam captured a gunshot coming from Reserve Deputy Robert Bates' weapon, immediately followed by an apology from Bates, who is 73.
The Tulsa County Sheriff's Offices called the shooting an accident. They said that as Harris tried to run, Bates intended to grab his taser, but instead grabbed his firearm.
Larry Murry is a reserve deputy for the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office. He was also awarded the 2014 Sebastian County Reserve Deputy Of The Year.
“Taking his age, it was probably just a in-the-moment situation,” Murry said. "I work primarily background investigations, [but] I do work some criminal cases."
According to Lt. Philip Pevehouse, the reserve deputy position is unpaid.
"By law you have to go through a 100-hour training course in our department," Pevehouse said. "We expect them to work at least 8 hours a month in the law enforcement field. We also have an expectation that they are going to attend four hours of training each month."
Pevehouse said there is no age limit to be a Sebastian County Reserve Deputy.
"Reserve deputies work only under the discretion and supervision of a full-time deputy,” Pevehouse said.
There are 38 reserve deputies at the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office and all of them undergo firearms training. Pevehouse said anyone interested in the position must be at least 21 years old.