A botched sting ended poorly for 44-year-old Eric Harris, who was shot and killed by a reserve deputy intending to use his taser, but instead using his service weapon.
Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73, used to be a police officer. During the midst of a sting operation over illegal weapon sales on April 2, he aimed his weapon at Eric Harris, shouting “Taser, taser” before he pulled the trigger and shot the man with a gun, instead.
Bates could be heard saying “I shot him” and “I’m sorry.”
Harris, an African-American man, was allegedly selling a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition to an undercover investigator. He can be seen running from police in the one minute video just before shots are fired.
When shots are fired, he cries out, “He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath.”
“Fuck your breath. Shut the fuck up,” an officer shouts in response.
At the time of the shooting, Harris was unarmed. He was pronounced dead at the hospital an hour later.
In an April 3 press release, the sheriff’s department said, “The reserve deputy was attempting to use less lethal force, believing he was utilizing a Taser, when he inadvertently discharged his service weapon.”
Police haven’t launched an investigation into the shooting yet, but CNN reports that Bates was placed on administrative leave after the incident.
Some might question the age and wonder if 73 isn’t a bit advanced to be policing, but I think the bigger question is this: is 73 such an advanced age that you can’t distinguish between your service weapon and your taser?
Watch the footage below, but be warned: it’s graphic.