Muskogee, OK – The father of a 17-year-old girl who was fatally shot after opening fire on police during a chase has invited the officers involved in the shooting to attend his daughter’s funeral.
Steven Rauch said he forgives the Muskogee Police Department (MPD) officers who shot his daughter, Farrah, and apologized for her having put them in a position where they were forced to return fire, KOTV reported.
“I know they’re hurting. They have to be hurting for what they had to do and that’s what they have to do in a job,” Rauch said, breaking down into tears. “I want people to know they’re loved… I want to hug them. I want everybody else to hug them. They need it. We need it.”
Rauch said his daughter had been struggling for the past four years after her parents divorced, and that she began using drugs and cutting herself.
According to police, Farrah and her boyfriend, 17-year-old Joseph Dugan, took off from their hometown of Blair, Nebraska and headed down through Arkansas, Georgia, and Florida, KOTV reported.
Investigators said they embarked on a multi-state crime spree before they arrived in Oklahoma on Feb. 28, according to KETV.
The teens allegedly stole a truck in Muskogee at about 3 p.m. that day, leading to a pursuit.
The couple eventually crashed, then jumped out of the vehicle and took off on foot, according to the Muskogee Phoenix.
That’s when Farrah opened fire on the officers, KTUL reported.
Officers returned fire, killing the teen.
Dugan continued running and fatally shot himself in the head as officers closed in on him.
Rauch said he hopes all four involved officers will attend his daughter’s funeral service in Nebraska on March 10, and he has even asked them to speak at the gathering, according to KOTV.
MPD Chief Johnny Teehee said he has agreed to be a speaker at the teen’s service.
“I was honestly shocked when we got the invite,” Chief Teehee said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“To me, it’s something you have to rely on God to do. Obviously, there’s a message that somebody in the family, or in that community, needs to hear, and God’s needs me to be the messenger,” Chief Teehee told KOTV. “It’s a way both for their family and their community and for my officers and my department and our community to begin that healing process.”