By Traci Chapman
Five Canadian County Sheriff’s officers who shot and killed a Mustang man after an Oct. 8 high-speed chase have been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with his death.
District attorney Mike Fields said Friday Major John Bridges, Lt. Bryan Dellinger, Lt. Jason Glass and deputies Christopher Contreras and Christopher Sonaggera were justified in shooting Alexander Lindahl. The five officers shot the 24-year-old after a high-speed chase that began in Tuttle, winding through Union City, El Reno and through Okarche up into Kingfisher County.
As is the procedure in any officer-involved shooting, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reviewed the events of Oct. 8, which began with Lindahl allegedly trying to steal one truck, then successfully taking another from Braum’s Dairy Farm in Tuttle. Union City police officers attempted to stop Lindahl; both El Reno Police Department and CCSO officers joined the northbound chase, which headed up US Highway 81 and reached speeds of about 100 mph, investigators said.
“At one point, Lindahl braked abruptly in an apparent attempt to cause a pursuing law enforcement officer to run into the truck,” Fields said. “Lindahl continued into the town of Okarche, where he traveled at high speeds through a school zone, despite the presence of traffic.”
Officers said it was just north of Okarche on Highway 81 where Lindahl lost control of the truck, overcompensating and ending up in the median; although the Mustang man tried to restart it he was unsuccessful. Canadian County Sheriff Chris West said officers shot the tires of the vehicle to keep Lindahl from leaving the scene.
“Lindahl got out of the truck while holding a handgun – shortly after exiting the truck with the handgun, deputies Bridges, Contreras, Dellinger, Glass and Sonaggera fired on Lindahl,” the district attorney said. “He was struck and died at the scene after unsuccessful medical intervention efforts by deputies.”
Because the shooting occurred in Kingfisher County that county’s sheriff, Dennis Banther, was responsible for the crime scene. It was Banther who requested OSBI investigate the incident. The state’s top law enforcement agency presented its findings to the district attorney’s office for its review, Fields said.
“Mr. Lindahl’s actions led the deputies to reasonably believe the use of deadly force was necessary to protect themselves and the public from serious bodily harm including death,” he said. “Mr. Lindahl posed an immediate and potentially lethal threat to the deputies as well as to the public – in this instance, the use of deadly force was justified under the law.”
The five CCSO personnel were put on paid administrative leave, where they remained for the five weeks since the Oct. 8 incident as the investigation continued, West said. On Friday, the sheriff released a press release stating he put all five men back on active duty effective that day in light of Fields’ statement clearing the officers.
No one else was injured in the Oct. 6 incident, investigators said.