Jury finds David Ware guilty of first-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill

TULSA, Okla. — David Ware was found guilty by a jury on Friday for shooting two Tulsa police officers, killing one.

It took about three hours for the jury to make its unanimous decision. Ware was convicted of first-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill, possession of a firearm after former conviction of a felony, unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, and obstructing an officer.

Ware was charged for shooting and killing Tulsa police Sgt. Craig Johnson and shooting Officer Aurash Zarkeshan at a traffic stop in June 2020. Zarkeshan recovered from his injuries.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin spoke minutes after the jury handed down the guilty verdict.

“I hope everyone knows that’s evil, that’s pure evil,” said Franklin. “David ware is pure evil.”

Ware showed no emotions as Tulsa County deputies escorted him back to jail, now as a convicted murderer.

“I wish Craig was here, but he’s not and that’s why we are trying this case,” said Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler. “He was a good man.”

“Sergeant Craig Johnson paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Franklin.

Franklin said he wishes the public could have heard the brave testimonies of several police officers including Zarkeshan.

Thursday in court was the first time Zarkeshan spoke publicly about being shot.

Fraternal Order of Police President Jeff Downs said the verdict is a step forward.

“At the start of this trial, I was hoping for three things: closure for community, justice for parties involved, and healing,” said Downs.

But this is only phase one of the murder trial.

The same jury will come back Monday to make the decision about the punishment for Ware. They will decide between life in prison with the possibility of parole, life without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty. The state is seeking the death penalty.