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Tulsa Volunteer Sheriff's Deputy Had "No Desire To Take Anyone's Life"

In an interview with Today, Robert Bates apologized to Eric Harris' family and dismissed accusations that he did not have the proper training. The 73-year-old fatally shot an unarmed black man when he said he reached for his handgun instead of his Taser.

Posted on April 17, 2015, at 8:45 a.m. ET

Robert Bates, the 73-year-old Tulsa sheriff reserve deputy who fatally shot an unarmed black man earlier this month, said on Today Friday morning that he had no desire to take anyone's life.

"I rate this as number-one on my list of things in my life that I regret," said Bates, who is charged with second-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Eric Harris, 44. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

Bates said he mistook his handgun for a Taser when he shot Harris.

Bates apologized to Harris and his family during the interview Friday, saying this is the worst thing that's ever happened to him.

The reserve deputy demonstrated where on his body he keeps his Taser and firearm.

Bates said he keeps his Taser tucked in a protected vest on his torso.

His gun is at hip-level on the right side of his body. "It could happen to anyone," he said about confusing the weapons.

"The laser light is the same on each weapon," he said. "I saw the light and squeezed the trigger. This was not an intentional thing. I had no desire to ever take anyone's life."

Bates also dismissed claims that supervisors at the Tulsa Sheriff's Office were ordered to falsify his training records and firearm certification.

"That is not correct," he said. "I have it in writing."

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