(CNN) – The Oklahoma reserve deputy who fired his gun instead of his taser says he made a terrible mistake. Robert Bates appeared on NBC’s Today Show Friday morning. Some say that officials forged his training records, but Bates says he was qualified to serve.
“You must believe me, it can happen to anyone.”
Speaking Friday on NBC’s Today Show, Robert Bates apologized to the family of Eric Harris.
“I rate this as number one on my list of things in my life that I regret.”
The Tulsa County reserve deputy shot and killed Harris during a drug sting operation on April 2nd.
NBC’s Matt Lauer asked Bates to show him where he kept his gun, and where he kept his taser.
“My taser is right here on the front, tucked in a protective vest. My gun itself is on my side; normally to the rear.”
“People are going to look at that, Mr. Bates, they’re going to say, ‘How could you make this mistake?'”
“Well, let me say, this has happened a number of times around the country. I have read about it in the past. I thought to myself after reading several cases, I don’t understand how this can happen.”
The Tulsa World reports Bates did not have the required hours of training, and that officials forged his training records. The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office denies that report.
Bates says he can prove he was qualified.
“That is absolutely the truth. I have it in writing.”
Robert Bates is facing a charge of second-degree manslaughter for the death of Eric Harris.
Bates’s attorney says the reserve deputy is innocent, and the shooting death was an “excusable homicide.”
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