Guthrie Police Chief Don Sweger said Officer Caleb Pinley saved a life earlier this year when the officer opened fire on a man who was threatening his ex-girlfriend with a large hunting knife.
“We firmly believe Officer Pinley saved this victim’s life that day,” Sweger said during a press conference on Monday inside City Hall.
Jason Alan Birt, 27, died outside a residence near the intersection of N. Walnut and Mansur Ave.on March 31.
Officer Pinley was searching for a reported reckless driver when he saw an altercation with Birt standing over his ex-girlfriend with a large hunting knife.
The knife was purchased just 20 minutes prior to the incident at Wal Mart.
“We believe he had every intention to use it,” Sweger added.
The police chief added the officer repeatedly told Birt to “drop the knife” as he exited his marked patrol vehicle.
“Birt looked at Officer Pinley, looked back at the victim and then leaned toward her in an aggressive manner with a large knife in his hand,” Sweger said. “Officer Pinley was in fear for the victim’s life at that point and decided to use force to end the danger.”
Officer Pinley, who has been on the force since late 2015, attempted to save Birt with life saving measures after firing off four shots.
According to Sweger, the District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges on the officer after an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations.
In September 2017, Birt was charged with four crimes, including burglary and domestic assault and battery. He was given a $15,000 bond and was ordered not to have contact with the female victim and child. The next day the female filed a protective order against Birt, but was dropped two weeks later in court by the female.