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Press Release

Jury Convicts Tulsa Man of Shooting a Police Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma

Following a two day trial, a federal jury returned a verdict of guilty on Tuesday in the prosecution of a 35-year-old Tulsa man for shooting and wounding a Tulsa police officer at a local Quik Trip on July 3, 2018, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

The jury deliberated two hours before finding John Terry Chatman, Jr., guilty of three federal counts, which included being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, obstruction of justice by attempting to kill a witness, and carrying, using, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

“Our case was strong, and our cause was just. Guilty on all counts was the right result. I am thankful to the jury for their service,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “John Chatman won’t be shooting anymore police officers. We will seek the maximum sentence allowed under law.”

On July 3, 2018, Tulsa police officers discovered Chatman driving a mini-van with a license plate that was registered to a different vehicle. Officers explained the traffic violation and asked for identification. Chatman repeatedly refused to identify himself and questioned the officers’ jurisdiction. Chatman escalated the situation by refusing to exit the vehicle and demanding to speak to a supervisor.

The United States presented evidence from police body cameras showing officers directing Chatman to exit the vehicle and repeatedly explaining the traffic and obstruction violations to him. Eventually, Tulsa Police Sergeant Mike Parsons arrived on scene and explained to Chatman that he was obstructing an investigation.

The video further showed that Sgt. Parsons again ordered the man to leave the vehicle, explaining to Chatman he would use PepperBalls to make him exit the vehicle. As the sergeant deployed his PepperBall gun into the vehicle, Chatman shot him with a handgun from within the mini-van, striking Sgt. Parsons. An officer returned fire, and Chatman was eventually arrested. The prosecution showed that the sergeant’s injuries could have been far more severe, potentially shattering his femur or hitting an artery, if a challenge coin in his pocket had not deflected the bullet.

A .32 caliber revolver was recovered from the scene with four spent cartridge casings in the firearm, and two live rounds. As a felon, Chatman was not allowed to possess firearms under federal law.

U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan presided over the trial and will sentence Chatman on April 30, 2019. Chatman potentially faces a maximum penalty of 10 years up to life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge; a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for the obstruction of justice by attempting to kill a witness charge; and a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, consecutive to any other term of imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine for the carrying, using, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence charge.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Tulsa Police Department investigated the case. U.S. Attorney Trent Shores and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allen Litchfield and Mark Morgan prosecuted the case.


Lennea Montandon

Updated January 31, 2019

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