Deputy Who Killed Eric Harris Pleads Not Guilty

An Oklahoma reserve sheriff’s deputy who fatally wounded a man earlier this month, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to second-degree manslaughter.

Robert Bates, 73, will appear in court on July 2 for the killing of Eric Harris, 44. He says he mistook his gun for his Taser when he shot and killed Harris, who allegedly tried to sell a gun to an undercover officer.

Dan Smolen, who is representing Harris’ family, said he wasn’t surprised at Bates’ plea. He was more surprised at the fact that Bates is vacationing.

“Whether intended or not, Mr. Bates’ vacationing in the Bahamas at this time sends a message of apathy with respect to the shooting and Eric’s life,” he told NBC News. “At a time when we are still mourning the death of a loved one that he shot down in the street, Mr. Bates will be relaxing and enjoying his wealth and privilege.”

Last week, Bates told TODAY that shooting Harris was “number one on my list of things in my life that I regret.”