Dancing with the Stars alum Nyle DiMarco, who was also the first deaf winner of America’s Next Top Model, expressed anger after an Oklahoma City man was Tased and fatally shot by police on Tuesday evening.
“I have no words at all. The neighbors SCREAMED to tell the police that he is Deaf. Police still shoots. And the Deaf guy was innocent,” the season 22 champion tweeted on Wednesday.
Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was pronounced dead in front of his home after two officers confronted him during a reported hit-and-run incident, according to a press release from the Oklahoma City Police Department.
“Sanchez had a pipe in his right hand … Lieutenant Matthew Lindsey and Sgt. Christopher Barnes gave verbal commands for the suspect to drop the weapon,” the statement read. “The suspect continued to advance towards Sgt. Barnes. Lt. Lindsey then deployed his Taser. At the same time Sgt. Barnes discharged his firearm toward the suspect.”
At a news conference held on Wednesday morning, Capt. Bo Mathews confirmed witnesses were yelling “he can’t hear you” before Sgt. Barnes shot Sanchez. Simultaneously the officer officer fired his Taser.
Sanchez’s father, who was allegedly driving the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run, confirmed that his son was deaf, Capt. Mathews.
Capt. Mathews explained neither Sgt. Barnes nor Lt. Lindsey had a body camera. When asked why Barnes used a gun instead of a Taser, Capt. Mathews could not provide an answer except saying that it is possible Barnes was not equipped with a Taser.
“In those situations, very volatile situations, you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision, or you can really lock into just the person that has the weapon that’d be the threat against you,” the captain said. “I don’t know exactly what the officers were thinking at that point.”
Jolie Guebara, who lives two houses from Sanchez, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that she heard five or six gunshots before looking outside and seeing police.
“He always had a stick that he would walk around with because there’s a lot of stray dogs,” Guebara said.
Sgt. Barnes has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.