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Press Release

Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Shooting Tulsa Police Officer

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

The man who shot and wounded Tulsa Police Sgt. Mike Parsons during a traffic stop in July has been ordered to federal prison today, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan sentenced Chatman to 40 years in prison for his crimes.

In January, a jury found John Terry Chatman, Jr., 35, guilty of three federal counts for his actions at a local Quik Trip on July 3, 2018. The counts 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.

“If you shoot a police officer, then you will go to prison for a long time. Plain and simple. John Chatman learned that lesson today,” said U.S. Attorney Shores. “In addition to the officers, Chatman also endangered the lives of innocent civilians when he pulled the trigger of his gun in the middle of a busy QuikTrip parking lot on the day before Independence Day. This prosecution should serve as a deterrent to anyone who would think about shooting at a police officer. They put their lives on the line every day to protect ours. I’m thankful for the brave men and women of the Tulsa Police Department.”

On July 3, 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.

Police body cameras show 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.

Chatman remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.

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.


Public Affairs

Updated April 30, 2019