After reviewing all evidence, District Attorney Richard Smothermon has ruled the use of deadly force by a Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Deputy on Jan. 6 was justifiable when he shot and killed a suspect west of Shawnee.

After reviewing all evidence, District Attorney Richard Smothermon has ruled the use of deadly force by a Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Deputy on Jan. 6 was justifiable when he shot and killed a suspect west of Shawnee.

The man killed was identified as Jonathan W. Leroy, 39.

According to Smothermon's letter to Sheriff Mike Booth on Tuesday, his office received an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation report regarding the shooting of Leroy by Deputy James S. Caskey.

The letter reads that evidence establishes that on Saturday, January 6, at approximately 7 p.m., Deputy Caskey was dispatched to a domestic abuse/strangulation call on Fishmarket Road in Pottawatomie County.

The letter indicates Deputy Caskey called the reporting party, William Leroy, who advised that his son, Jonathan Leroy, had strangled his wife. William Leroy advised the deputy that he had thrown Jonathan Leroy out of the house, where Jonathan Leroy picked up a baseball bat and started ranting and raving as he paced back and forth.

Deputy Caskey was told that Jonathan Leroy was last seen walking north on Fishmarket Road and the deputy was given a physical and clothing description.

When the deputy turned onto Fishmarket Road, he saw a male matching the description of Leroy walking north while carrying an aluminum baseball bat.

Deputy Caskey was driving a white 2016 Dodge Ram pickup with “SHERIFF” in large letters on both sides, the letter shows, and his unit had emergency lights on the grill, a light bar on the top of the vehicle, and had 24 red and blue flashing lights on the front of the vehicle.

Additionally, his headlights alternated flashing with the emergency equipment activated.

“Deputy Caskey activated the emergency lights on his vehicle, activated his body-worn camera, stepped out of his vehicle and drew his service weapon in order to detain the suspect for the felony domestic abuse by strangulation,” Smothermon states in the clearance letter. “Jonathan Leroy was approximately 40-45 feet in front of Deputy Caskey's unit. Deputy Caskey immediately began giving commands to stop and drop the bat. Jonathan Leroy immediately became aggressive and screamed 'you want me, come on.' Deputy Caskey retreated to create distance between himself and the suspect.”

The evidence shows that the suspect continued towards the deputy, closing the distance between the two men quickly.

“Jonathan Leroy raised the bat, swinging it up and down and called the Deputy a 'fat f------ pig' and told Deputy Caskey to shoot him. Deputy Caskey continuously gave verbal commands to stop and drop the bat and continued to step back away from the suspect until he was unable to back any further without stepping into the bar ditch,” the letter continues.

“Deputy Caskey advised that when the suspect got past the front of the flashing lights of the police unit, he became difficult to see as he was in the dark with the flashing lights behind him. The suspect continued to come towards the deputy until he was approximately 6 to 8 feet from the officer. Deputy Caskey fired one round, striking the suspect in the abdomen. When the suspect fell to the ground, he still had the bat in his grip. Another officer arrived and first aid, including a blood clotting kit, was administered,” the letter further reads.

Leroy was rushed to a local hospital, but died from his injuries.

As part of his decision in this case, Smothermon's letter shows he reviewed the video of events as recorded by the deputy's body-worn camera, which was consistent with the statement of events as detailed by the deputy.

“Based on this evidence, it is the opinion of this office that the use of deadly force on January 6, 2018, by Deputy James Caskey, was justifiable under the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Oklahoma,” the letter reads.

In conclusion, Smothermon noted that he was declining prosecution because the use of deadly force by officers who are in the performance of their legal duties and when there is a reasonable belief that it is necessary to protect themselves and others from serious bodily injury is legal.


Notice: The deputy's body cam video with this story contains graphic content of a deputy-involved shooting on Jan. 6 in Pottawatomie County. Five expletives have been removed from the video, which was released and provided by District Attorney Richard Smothermon's office. Smothermon's ruling on Feb. 13 shows that the deputy was justified in using deadly force in the shooting death of Jonathan W. Leroy, 39.