TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police and officers across Tulsa are getting ready for the trial of David Ware.
Ware is accused of killing Sergeant Craig Johnson and critically injuring Officer Aurash Zarkeshan.
“As the trail nears some of those emotions start to re-emerge, the sadness and the loss,” said Jeff Downs, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93.
Jeff Downs, President of the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, has been on the force for decades. He knew Sergeant Craig Johnson as both a policeman and a person.
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“He was one of the nicest guys in the world,” said Downs. “He’s one of those guys you could come up to and talk to and you felt like you’ve known him your whole life.”
As we get closer to David Ware’s trial, Downs says emotions are running high.
“This was devastating not only to the police department but to the entire city losing an officer to a violent act like that,” said Downs. “The officers in the department are reliving and trying to cope with that loss.”
June 29th, 2020 is a day burned into the memory of officers across the city and many Tulsans as well. It was during the overnights hours when Officer Aurash Zarkeshan pulled over David Ware for a traffic violation. Sergeant Craig Johnson was backing Officer Zarkeshan.
Together, police say they issued dozens of commands that were refused before police say Ware opened fire on both officers – killing Sergeant Johnson and critically injuring Officer Zarkeshan.
“The city along with the police department and the officers have been trying to heal from that. We feel like it’s brought the community closer together,” said Downs.
Downs says he plans to be in the courtroom every day he can, listening to the testimony in this death penalty case.
He remembers the outpouring of support for officers across the city after the shooting and is hoping they’ll continue to see the same support as the trial picks up.
“Being a police officer is a tough job and these officers love their community and risk their lives every night for their community to make this a better place for them to live,” said Downs.
Jury selection is supposed to start Monday.
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