Dennehy's best friend: "That's not the Joe I know"

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Updated: 3/12/2012 9:58 am Published: 3/08/2012 8:08 pm

A critical question in Wednesday’s courthouse plaza shooting: Why?

Friends are asking what motivated a man to approach the plaza with a gun and start firing rounds from his gun.

"I feel sorry for the people that it happened to but that doesn’t' remind me of Joe," said Dennehy’s best friend Andy Johnston.

Andrew Dennehy, 23, also known as Joe, remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition.

He was hit by deputies’ bullets Wednesday afternoon after he opened fire.  Deputy David Fortenberry was shot in the hands and bystander Ricardo Manuel, 28, was also shot.

Dennehy’s best friend talked exclusively to FOX23 News and said the Joe he knows is not the man the public saw on plaza.

They had a friendship that never strayed.

"We've been best friends, ever since the 8th grade,” said Johnston.

Andy Johnston met Dennehy at Nimitz Middle School.

They called him Joe Dirt and he was the godfather of Johnston’s son.

"He really was a good guy and his still a really good guy,” said his best friend.

However, the man Johnston saw on the courthouse plaza was not the man he grew up with.

"Once I saw the picture of him on the ground it got me and seeing him walking around with a gun, it shocked me because that's not Joe. I've never seen him do anything crazy like that,” said Johnston.

Detectives say Dennehy parked his car across from the courthouse plaza and started shooting. He hit Deputy Fortenberry and bystander Manuel.

"What he did was bad but that's not going to change how we feel about him. We know he went through a lot and we know he is going through a lot and he needs somebody,” said Johnston’s wife Breanna.

Dennehy’s best friend says he can’t look at the pictures of Dennehy pointing a gun at deputies and then on the ground in a pool of blood.

"That bothers me every time I see it because that's not Joe. I don't see that kind of person do that.  I mean he did it but I didn't ever think he would do something like that, ever,” said Johnston.

He admits Dennehy has had a few run ins with the law. Dennehy has been convicted of drunk driving, carrying a gun while being drunk and he’s faced other gun and marijuana charges.

However, FOX23 News was the first to report Dennehy’s brother was killed by an officer in 2005.

Johnston says his friend’s depression started when his brother was killed in a shootout with Tulsa Police in 2005.

Dennehy was only 17-years-old when his brother died.

Brian Dennehy was wanted by police in Oklahoma City for beating his 81-year-old grandfather to death.

When stopped by Tulsa police at 51st and Harvard, Dennehy fired shots at a homicide detective who shot back killing Brian Dennehy.

"He always kept it to himself because it would make him cry and he doesn't like to cry,” said Johnston.

Was he thinking about his brother Wednesday on the courthouse plaza?

That’s the question everyone is asking.

"Why? Why didn't you call me before you did something like that, why did you think to do something like that? Why? The same thing on everyone's mind, I want to know why,” said Johnston.

Tulsa police are handling the investigation.

They are reviewing those surveillance cameras and witness accounts to get a better idea of exactly how the shooting played out.

The surveillance video will not be released pending the investigation.

Police say the victims and Dennehy are expected to make a full recovery.

Deputy Fortenberry was hired as a detention officer in 2006 and promoted to deputy in 2010.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 8/15/2012 11:11 AM
0 Votes
'A bullet that struck a bystander near the Tulsa County Courthouse on Wednesday likely was fired by a sheriff's deputy, police believe.' "I've looked at the video, and it is my opinion that it is going to be an errant deputy shot," Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker said Monday. "It's the only one that is going to make any sense, but we haven't confirmed that."

brebre - 3/9/2012 1:05 PM
0 Votes
and fyi dont blame channel 23 cuz channel 2 called wanting us to do an interview and we said no were only doing 23 cuz thats all we watch

brebre - 3/9/2012 12:55 PM
0 Votes
i agree with the 3 comment but why dont the rest of u just shut ur damn mouth we never said that we agreed with what Joe did why dont u pretend that it was your brother or sister how the hell would you feel about the fact that the news was makin them out to be a cold hearted killer fact is thank the heavens he didnt kill anyone find something new to talk about if it doesnt directly effect you then its not your damn business!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve In Tulsa - 3/9/2012 8:23 AM
0 Votes
When someone commits a felony they become instantly responsible for anyone being shot as a result of the situation regardless of who actually shot them. If a deputy shoots past the criminal and hits a bystander it is the criminals fault for creating the situation and the criminal will be charged for the injury.

bupkus - 3/9/2012 12:50 AM
0 Votes
This is the biggest crock I have ever seen in print. I can't believe Fox is trying to build a sob story for this cretin. I'm sure the deputy and the bystander lying in the hospital are overjoyed to hear what an all-around great guy he is. I've got news for you, Andy -- he's not Joe Dirt, he's Joe Dirtbag.

Unwashed Mass - 3/8/2012 11:15 PM
1 Vote
The bystander was standing at the library, on the opposite side of Dehenny from the Deputy, so it could only have been the deputy that shot the bystander. Numerous bullet holes in the library windows around where the bystander had been, bear that out. TCSO is lying. Show the surveillance video.
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