OKLAHOMA CITY -
As a metro police officer recovers after being shot by a suspect, new questions were asked about why the man accused of pulling the trigger wasn't already behind bars.
Before Friday night's shooting, court records revealed Herbert Hill, 25, was convicted in 2012 of shooting with intent to kill. He was sentenced 17 years in prison but only served one year. He was given 30 years' probation.
"Looking at the cold hard record of what his past was and what he had done this time, this guy didn't deserve a suspended sentence," said local attorney and former Oklahoma City police officer Irven Box.
"He shouldn't have been out for another 10 or 12 years, but he came back before a judge and said he had been good in doing a year in prison, and the judge modified that sentence down and gave him a suspended sentence."
While on probation, police officers showed up to a home on S.W. 62nd Street to arrest Hill, who was wanted for a felony. Police said he failed to register as a violent offender.
Officers found him inside a car parked in the driveway of the home with a woman, who neighbors said is the relative of the homeowner.
"She brought that guy over there, and I guess they didn't know that guy, it was just some guy that she picked up, she was hanging out with, just the wrong crowd," said neighbor Justin Shepherd.
Police said the woman was able to get out of the car just in time when Hill reached for a gun and started shooting at four officers and one Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office deputy.
Sgt. John Townsend, a 10-year-veteran, was shot in the leg and grazed in the back.
"His vest kept it from penetrating into his body, so it did what it supposed to do, we're very fortunate there," said Capt. Paco Balderama of Oklahoma City Police Department.
Police said the other officers fired back at Hill, who was shot and killed.
The deadly shooting was only footsteps from Shepherd's door, who was watching his children and babysitting some friend's kids at the time of the shooting. But it was the children of the women, who were inside the car with Hill that he was worried about.
“She had kids that were in the house too, and she was telling us that the kids were in there screaming and they were terrified in there for their mother and everything, so that can't be good for them,” Shepherd said.
The woman was not hurt or arrested. Police said she was not involved in the crime.
Sgt. John Townsend was treated and released from OU Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery.
All the officers involved were placed on routine administrative leave as the case is under investigation.
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