Tulsa reserve officer Robert Bates, 73, told The Today Show’s Matt Lauer that the fatal shooting of Eric Harris in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday April 11 “could happen to anyone.” Bates said the shooting was an accident and apologized to Harris’s family.
Robert Bates has been charged with manslaughter and says he intended to pull out his Taser and not his gun to subdue Harris.
During the interview, Lauer asked Bates to stand up and explain where his Taser and gun were located during the accident. “My Taser is right in the front,” Bates said pointing to the inside of his right side. “My gun itself is on my side normally through the rear."
“First and foremost, let me apologize to the family of Eric Harris,” he said. He also said the shooting was one of the worst things to happen to him since suffering from and surviving cancer.
“People are going to look at that and say, 'How can you make that mistake? How could you think you were going for your Taser on your chest, tucked into that vest, and accidentally pull your weapon?'” Lauer said.
Bates later said that his gun and his Taser are the same size and that he had “no desire to take anyone’s life.”
Recently, the Tulsa World reported that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office claimed to have no record of Bates attending a shooter training. A chief of media relations said that Bates would not have qualified for the training because he isn't a member of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Bates denied those allegations, saying he can prove "in writing" that he was approved to be a Reserve Deputy.
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