Oklahoma City, OK – A Blackwell police lieutenant who stopped an active shooter during a rolling gunfight has been indicted for second-degree murder.
“It’s a sad day for law enforcement and society,” the lieutenant’s attorney, Gary James, told The Oklahoman.
The incident began at approximately 3 a.m. on May 20, when Blackwell police received reports that someone was firing a gun in the 1300-block of South Main, KFOR reported.
At least one of the rounds had struck a vehicle.
While officers responded to the scene, the dispatch center received additional calls that someone in a white pickup was firing rounds at several locations around Blackwell.
The suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Micheal Ann Godsey, ultimately opened fire on police as they pursued her through the town, The Oklahoman reported.
“She shot at the police twice. She has shot at her mother twice. She has shot at a private citizen. We know she fired other rounds around town,” James told the paper.
Blackwell Police Lieutenant John Mitchell managed to pull in behind the active shooter’s vehicle.
“He took his AR-15 and he started shooting through the front windshield at her,” James said, according to The Oklahoman.
Godsey jerked the wheel and abruptly turned at stopped near Doolin Avenue and 13th Avenue, KFOR reported.
Lt. Mitchell and another officer fired additional rounds at the suspect’s pickup.
They discovered the shooter dead in the driver’s seat a short while later.
One of the officers suffered a minor injury during the shootout, according to the Associated Press.
James said that Lt. Mitchell did what he had to do to stop a “violent, fleeing felon,” The Oklahoman reported.
He noted that the lieutenant had completed active shooter response training shortly before the fatal altercation, and that an independent internal affairs committee had cleared him of any wrongdoing.
On Nov. 21, a state grand jury determined that Lt. Mitchell engaged in “imminently dangerous conduct” towards Godsey without excusable or justifiable cause by firing approximately 60 rounds during the gun battle, The Oklahoman reported.
He faces up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted of the second-degree murder charge against him.
Lt. Mitchell was released on his own recognizance during a bond hearing on Monday, KFOR reported.
He was subsequently processed at the Kay County Detention Center before he was allowed to return home.
Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Jason Smith said he fully supports Lt. Mitchell.
“We look forward to this working through the justice system,” Smith told WFOR. “We believe that when the facts of the case are brought out to the public, that LT. Mitchell will be put back to work where he needs to be.”
Using deadly force was the last thing the lieutenant wanted to do, the union president added.
“He didn`t wake up that day with the [intent] to take a human life,” he told KFOR. “It`s the worst thing that he could ever imagine having to do.”
Smith noted that the indictment against Lt. Mitchell marked the “first time in American history that a police officer – or anybody – was charged with the crime of murder for shooting at an active shooter,” KTUL reported.
He said that he believes Lt. Mitchell will be acquitted of the charge against him once all the facts are known, according to KFOR.
Lt. Mitchell’s supporters said they were stunned to learn about the grand jury’s indictment, KTUL reported.
“To me, you return fire until the threat is neutralized,” Sean Ingram told the news outlet. “You don’t know if it’s going to be one or one hundred.”
“You’re being shot at,” another resident added. “Where do you draw that line?”
Ingram said that Lt. Mitchell is the most honorable person he knows.
“I will back him all the way,” he said.
Lt. Mitchell’s preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 18.