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October 18, 2013

Trooper cleared after shooting

NORMAN — Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn announced Thursday that Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Kimmons was cleared after shooting a juvenile Sept. 22 following a road rage incident along Interstate 35 in Cleveland County.

A letter was sent clearing the trooper Thursday morning, detailing reasons why Mashburn said he felt the trooper should be cleared.

“I feel the trooper’s actions were justified and warranted and reasonable in this incident,” he said.

It was learned that Kimmons shot the teen after seeing the juvenile attempt to grab the gun of a game warden he was struggling with. The game warden, Chad Strang, was there to assist with the call near Southbound I-35 and Tecumseh Road.

When Strang saw Kimmons and the teen begin to fight, he ran to help restrain the teen. At that point, they struggled and ended up in the ditch, Mashburn said.

“At that point in time, the subject actually ended up on top of game warden, Strang, on top of his back, with his left hand on his left side and his right hand reaching for officer Strang’s weapon,” he said.

When Strang realized what was happening and felt the tugging on his belt, he rolled over to keep the weapon from being pulled from his holster.

“He felt the subject’s hands on the pistol; he tried to secure his pistol,” Mashburn said.

When Kimmons saw this, he pulled away and ordered the teen to comply, warning that he would use deadly force. The teen told the trooper to shoot him as he continued to grab for Strang’s gun.

At that point, Mashburn said Kimmons had no choice but to use deadly force to prevent the teen from shooting either Strang or him.

“Trooper Kimmons noticed that the game warden was not wearing his vest that day, and so if that weapon had cleared that holster and turned, it would be potentially fatal,” Mashburn said.

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