Newly released dash-cam images capture the moment a Tulsa police sniper shot and killed an armed man reportedly holding his estranged wife’s 2-year-old daughter hostage as he stood on the balcony of her east Tulsa home last month.
The video, which was released to the public Monday evening, shows 42-year-old Salvador Reyes walking onto the balcony of the house in the 4300 block of South 170th East Avenue in the early-morning hours of Oct. 17. Seconds later, a shot is heard as Reyes drops to the floor.
“Go. He’s down, he’s down, he’s down,” an off-screen officer yells as police begin approaching the residence.
Authorities have said Reyes was holding the girl’s hand while also carrying a firearm at the time Officer Jason Lawless, a special operations sniper, fired the deadly shot. Reyes was pronounced dead at the scene.
Shortly after officers entered the home and confirmed Reyes was killed, the uninjured child was brought outside and handed over to her mother, who was waiting in a nearby police car.
“That was a hell of a shot,” another officer is heard saying as the scene settles.
The standoff started about three hours earlier, when Reyes allegedly forced his way into the woman’s home just days after she filed for divorce. According to police, Reyes grabbed her daughter while she and her three other children managed to escape outside and call authorities.
When officers arrived, they found Reyes standing in the front yard before he retreated into the residence. He then appeared multiple times on the second-floor balcony and at the front door, each time holding the child and a gun, police said.
Officers tried unsuccessfully to communicate with Reyes, whom a spokesman has said “spoke very little English,” and eventually requested a Spanish-speaking officer. Additional attempts to negotiate in Spanish were ineffective, leading police to opt for a lethal solution.
“If he comes outside, is armed and has the baby, if there’s a clear shot to the head take it,” an officer ordered midway through the standoff, according to a computer-aided dispatch transcript obtained by the Tulsa World.
Lawless took the shot at 3:06 a.m., striking Reyes in the head as he reappeared on the balcony and pointed the gun at officers and the girl, prompting the sniper to “fear for the child’s safety,” police have said.
Lawless has remained on paid administrative leave since the shooting as police continue an investigation into the incident. A police spokesman said Tuesday that detectives had not yet released their report to the district attorney’s office, which will determine whether the shooting was justified.
State records show Reyes’ wife filed for divorce less than a week before the standoff. They married in 2009 and had three children together — the same children who escaped from the house with their mother. Reyes was not the father of the girl who was taken hostage.