Lawton business owner details experience leading up to officer-involved shooting

Lawton business owner details experience leading up to officer-involved shooting

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The owner of Lavish Lounge recalls the moments leading up to a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened Sunday morning in Lawton.

“The cops had a routine traffic stop outside my building and I went outside to ask them what they were doing outside. They responded saying it was a routine traffic stop and had nothing to do with Lavish Lounge. I said, ‘well you’re on my property.’ He said, ‘well now I’m coming into Lavish Lounge’,” owner Seth Fleming said.

Fleming said he told officers they needed a warrant to enter. He says they came back around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m., but this time they were heavily armed.

“I met them at my front door, this time they had rifles, lethal and non-lethal, the big pellet guns and guns. They came and said, ‘we’re coming in your building.’ I said, ‘for what, we’re closed, there’s nobody in here.’ They said, ‘we’re coming to check your permit’,” said Fleming.

The OSBI said while officers were searching, someone on the outside fired shots with at least one hitting the building. But Fleming said he believes the shot they’re referencing came from an officer inside.

“Look at the ripple effect and look at the energy from it, it’s all coming from in here and traveling outside. You can see where the bullet impacted it and took off this thicker part and left the paper on the outside,” Fleming said.

That ultimately led to a foot chase that ended with a Lawton police officer shooting and killing Zonterious Johnson near 11th and Park.

What authorities have not said is whether Johnson was actually the person who shot at the building. 7NEWS called the OSBI, but their public information officer was off, and we were told to call back Tuesday.

As for Fleming, he hopes their findings will show that Johnson’s death could have been avoided.

“If the officers didn’t come out here looking for a problem, the boy would still be alive. He didn’t deserve to die. He didn’t have to die,” Fleming said.

The Lawton Police Department released a statement Monday night saying -

“On January 17, 2021 around the hour of 3:30 A.M. Lawton Police Officers arrived at the Lavish Lounge (1015 SW Park Ave) for a bar check. Officers saw customers at the restaurant/social club after the hours of 2 A.M. and determined that the owner was charging a cover charge to enter the establishment.

When officers arrived at the scene some of them were carrying rifles. Officers did not however fire any shots from inside the establishment.

For any further questions please contact the investigating agency, Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations (O.S.B.I).”

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