|Updated: 8/02/2012 3:58 pm
||Published: 8/01/2012 3:31 pm
A well know known art teacher is shot and killed in a deputy involved shooting.
Around 9:25 am Wednesday morning, Okmulgee County deputies were called to a rural home in Morris after they received a call about a potentially suicidal man.
Deputies said Robert McMurtry, 61, was distraught, armed with a machete and came at deputies.
Sheriff Eddy Rice said the two deputies used a taser and when that didn’t work they were forced to use lethal force.
There's a mural painted by McMurtry on the wall near the Morris Library in downtown Morris marked in 2002.
His students told FOX23 News they called him Mr. Robby and they want to remember him as their art teacher who made them a better person.
Teaching came as easy as a brush stroke.
Mr. Robby was known to bring the artist out in every student. Many had him as a teacher since they were in elementary school.
“He taught me how to draw and I know nothing about drawing,” said Tiffani Burgess.
She had McMurtry as a teacher from when she was in kindergarten and until she graduated high school in 2010. Another student had him when he was in the eighth grade.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s good as long as you put in the effort,” said sophomore Shan Edmonds of McMurtury.
Other students agree they were not talented artists, but they enjoyed being around him.
“He made it fun. I loved art and whenever it was time for Mr. Robby to come in it was awesome,” said 2011 Morris graduate, Katy Franklin.
For decades Mr. Robby taught art for Morris Public Schools in the elementary, middle school and high school classrooms.
“I grew up with him. I grew up knowing him. Just really hard,” said Burgess.
Okmulgee County deputies say they were called to McMurtry’s rural Morris home on Wednesday morning for a welfare check.
Sheriff Rice said McMurtry was distraught and they tried to talk to him. He said the deputies knew him as their former teacher.
“He was unable to calm down. It kept escalating,” said Rice.
He said McMurtry was armed with a machete. They deployed a taser.
“You have to have to have a complete circuit. Only one taser barb in and the other did not and we don’t believe it was effective,” said Rice.
The sheriff said that’s when one of the deputies pulled out his gun and fired one shot.
“At that point they had to defend themselves and take Robby’s life,” said Rice.
Students said they are in shock about what happened.
“He was never that type of person. He was encouraging to all of us,” said Burgess.
No one knows why this happened but his students are remembering his legacy as an artist, novelist and teacher.
“It’s hard for me to imagine for Morris not having Mr. Robby and all the kids who are not going to have him and be taught by him. My heart breaks for them for not being able to know him and for everyone to think something that he is not because he was such a great person,” said Burgess.
Morris School Superintendent James Lyons told FOX23 on the phone that McMurtry was a “real dandy.” He said he was well-liked among teachers, students and the community.
Both the school and Sheriff Rice said their prayers are with McMurtry’s family.
The sheriff said McMurtry was married. His wife and no one else were home at the time of the shooting.
Once the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations is finished with its investigation the Okmulgee County District Attorney will determine if the shooting is justified.
The deputies’ have been identified as Chief Investigator Michael Stacy and Investigator Smokey Patchin.
Sheriff Rice said the last deputy-involved shooting in the Sheriff’s Office happened in 1994.