NORMAN — A man was shot by a Norman police officer shortly after demanding $40 and accosting an employee at a Norman restaurant on Wednesday, according to an eyewitness account.
The suspect is in critical condition from multiple gunshot wounds and is being treated at OU Medical Center. Police have not released his identity.
The violent encounter began at Wendy’s Restaurant on Main Street.
Vickie Larimore, a customer at the local eatery, said she saw the man enter and start demanding that a female employee talk to him.
“He was trying to get the employee to come out and she refused and said, ‘I’m busy, I’m busy,’” Larimore said.
The man said, “I want my money,” according to Larimore and mentioned $40. He had a small, kitchen-type knife in his hand, she said.
Larimore called 911 after the man went back into the kitchen area to pursue the woman.
“I thought he had stabbed her. He had a knife,” she said. “Somebody said, ‘Everybody get out, get out,’ and people started exiting the area.”
“The man came out. I followed him because I thought he was going to a vehicle, but he walked across the parking lot,” Larimore said.
At that point, she was on the phone with 911.
Norman Police Capt. Tom Easley said the man entered the Wendy’s Restaurant, 1908 W. Main St., at about noon Wednesday and went back to the food preparation area.
“Initially, we thought he had cut or stabbed an employee,” Easley said. “The man reportedly punched a woman in the face and left.”
Officers followed the suspect to the Sinclair gas station at 2132 W. Main St. where witnesses said he was acting aggressive. The encounter ended with a female police officer shooting the man after warning him multiple times, according to police and witnesses at the scene.
Easley said the suspect approached the female officer who stopped her patrol car to confront the man and the officer warned the man to stop and put down his knife.
Eyewitness Dean Harrington said he saw the female officer walking southbound on Hal Muldrow Drive as he drove northbound and noticed the man crossing the street in front of the officer.
She ordered the man to stop in the gas station parking lot. The man did not stop, and the officer called on the radio that he was charging her, still wielding a knife. She fired three rounds at him, one reportedly striking the man in the shoulder.
Another witness confirmed that the man was on foot, moving aggressively toward the police officer and refused to stop, even after her first shot was fired.
Norman’s Hal Muldrow Drive was closed for nearly five hours while investigators from Norman Police and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol interviewed countless witnesses and potential witnesses along the Main Street corridor near the scene of the shooting.
Staff members Caitlin Schudalla, Jamie Berry and Shana Adkisson contributed to this report.