The Oklahoma reserve sheriff’s deputy who says he mistook his gun for a Taser offered an apology on Friday to the family of the unarmed man he shot and killed last week.
“I rate this as No. 1 on my list of things in my life that I regret,” the reserve deputy, Robert Bates, told TODAY in his first public remarks since the deadly encounter April 2.
Bates has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris, who bolted from a car after he allegedly tried to sell a semiautomatic pistol to an undercover cop during a sting operation in Tulsa.
In a video of the encounter, Bates can be heard shouting, “Taser! Taser!” and later saying, “I shot him! I’m sorry!”
Bates, an insurance executive who volunteered with the sheriff’s department, demonstrated on TODAY that he kept the two weapons in different places — the Taser tucked into his protective vest, the gun on his side. But he said: “You must believe me. This can happen to anyone.”
Read more: NBC News