Unarmed man shot by Tulsa police was high on PCP, officials say

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2016

The case drew national attention after police released videos showing Crutcher walking on the road with his arms in the air before the shooting. Manslaughter charges have been filed against Shelby, who was released from jail after posting bond.

An unarmed man shot dead by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system, say officials.

Crutcher was also found to have two types of drugs in his system at the time of this death, including PCP, according to the medical examiner's report released Tuesday.

According to a report from the Medical Examiner's Office, Crutcher died of gunshot wound to the chest.

Terence Crutcher, 40, had "acute phencyclidine intoxication" when he died September 16, the report found. Officer Betty Jo Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter after his death, with a prosecutor saying she reacted unreasonably when Crutcher disobeyed her commands.


The positive results could help Shelby's defense in that she said she perceived Crutcher to be a threat to her safety.

Terence Crutcher was shot September 16 after his auto broke down on a Tulsa street. The officer is now on trial for Crutcher's death and faces charges of first-degree manslaughter for which she has entered a plea of not guilty.

Tulsa police said previously that PCP was discovered in Crutcher's stalled SUV after his death. "The manner of death is classified as homicide", the report states.

Shelby has been charged with manslaughter.

At a news conference Monday, Shelby's attorney Shannon McMurray said her client was correct when recognizing Crutcher was intoxicated, and that was a piece of the puzzle leading her to feel scared.


Officer Shelby's lawyer said that she had gone through drug recognition training and that she believed he may have been under the influence of drugs.

Shelby, 42, has pleaded not guilty. Crutcher had reportedly left the engine of the SUV running and he had been talking "nonsensically" to Officer Shelby before she fired her gun.

However, it can be argued that this discovery should have zero effect on the prosecution's case against the police officer for shooting and killing an unarmed man. She faces between four years to life in prison if convicted. A voice heard on police radio said: "Shots fired!"

"PCP use often causes a user to feel detached, distant and estranged from his surroundings", according to a fact sheet from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Officer Shelby has been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.


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