UPDATE: The man is said to have been holding a metal pipe.

A criminal investigation has been launched after a man, who was holding a stick, was shot dead by police in the southeast side of Oklahoma city last night.

A witness told the Daily Mail that people were yelling at police that the man was deaf before an officer shot him.

'We have lived in the neighbourhood for 13 years so we knew him to see and we knew that he was deaf.

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Madgiel Sanchez was fatally shot on Tuesday night. Photo / AP
Madgiel Sanchez was fatally shot on Tuesday night. Photo / AP

"As the cops tried to approach him my husband, my daughter and I were all screaming at the police that he was deaf," a female witness said.

Police Captain Bo Mathews said officers were responding to a report of a hit-and-run at around 8:15 pm last night when they found a vehicle that matched the description of the one in the crash.

He said that two officers confronted a man holding a stick who was near the vehicle.

One officer fired a Taser and the other shot the suspect with a firearm. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses said that the deceased man was Hispanic.

One of his neighbours told the Daily Mail that he was deaf and had special needs.

"He was from a good family who worked hard. They are nice people and nice, clean neighbours," the woman said.

Numerous people praised Oklahoma City Police online although some people said that they believed the dead man had posed no threat to officers.

Gina Smith wrote on Facebook: "I have lived next door for two year's to this man . I have never seen him drive anything but his own red truck ... Never."

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Alma Robles wrote: "He wasn't even a bad guy. The officers shot a deaf man after the officer was told by several people he was deaf."

Tammy Burnett Guerra wrote: 'Prayers for the officers involved and the family of the fellow shot.'

And Kevin Cerakote Mull wrote: "It's funny how some folks bash the police. But when their house gets broke into, car stolen or something worse. Who do they call? There is good and bad in every career field. Just remember most lawyers charge $50 plus to mail a letter."

Police have not yet confirmed whether the man was deaf and names of the suspect and the two officers have not been released.

Police Capt. Mathews said the officer who shot the man with the firearm has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

He said that police are at the preliminary stages of an in-depth criminal investigation and will be examining local CCTV and taking witnesses statements at the Oklahoma City Police homicide office.

The news comes just days after two police officers were shot in Chickasha, Oklahoma on Sunday while executing a search warrant.