Unarmed black man killed by Tulsa officer had PCP in his system, according to autopsy

WARNING: This video contains graphic content. Tulsa police released several police car and helicopter videos after Terence Crutcher, an unarmed 40-year-old black man, was fatally shot by a white police officer.

An unarmed man shot dead by a Tulsa police officer last month had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system when he died, according to Oklahoma's medical examiner.

Terence Crutcher, 40, had "acute phencyclidine intoxication" when he died Sept. 16. Officer Betty Jo Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter after his death, with a prosecutor saying she reacted unreasonably when Crutcher disobeyed her commands.


Medical literature says PCP, also known as angel dust, can induce euphoria and feelings of omnipotence as well as agitation, mania and depression.

Videos from a police helicopter and a dashboard camera showed Crutcher walking away from Shelby on a North Tulsa street with his arms in the air, but the footage does not offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot.

Tulsa police previously had said that they had found a vial of PCP in Crutcher's SUV — and the police officer's lawyer said she had completed drug-recognition training and believed Crutcher might have been under the influence of drugs.

According to an eight-page report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Oklahoma City, Crutcher suffered a "penetrating gunshot wound of chest" and noted that both of Crutcher's lungs were pierced and he had four broken ribs. In addition to saying Crutcher had PCP in his system, the report said he was obese and had too much cholesterol in his gallbladder. The examiner recovered a bullet fragment from Crutcher's left chest.

Lawyers for Crutcher's family have said previously that even if drugs were present, the shooting wasn't justified.

Shannon McMurray, one of Shelby's defense attorneys, said that the report helped provide an early "snapshot" of evidence in the case and that as more is released, "it will be clear in my mind as the case unfolds that the officer was justified in her use of force." Another Shelby lawyer, Scott Wood, said previously that the officer was so focused on Crutcher that she didn't hear other officers near her before she fired her service weapon. Almost simultaneously, another officer fired a Taser at Crutcher as he moved toward his SUV.

In a text message to the Associated Press on Tuesday, Tulsa County District Atty. Steve Kunzweiler said his analysis of the case anticipated that Crutcher would have a positive test for some type of substance in his system to include PCP.

Shelby, 42, has pleaded not guilty. She faces four years to life in prison if convicted.



2:05 p.m.: This article was updated with more details and comments from Shelby's lawyer and the district attorney.


This article was originally published at 12:40 p.m.