South-central Kansas man in Wichita hospital following officer-involved shooting

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FILE(WIBW)
Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 2:14 PM CST
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HARPER, Kan. (WIBW) - One south-central Kansas man is recovering in a Wichita hospital after he was shot by police during a struggle in his apartment.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says investigators are investigating an officer-involved shooting that happened on Friday evening, Dec. 3, in an apartment complex in Harper.

KBI said the Harper Police Department contacted investigators around 4:15 p.m. on Friday to ask for help investigating the shooting. It said agents and the Crime Scene Response Team responded to the south-central Kansas crime scene.

HPD said around 3:40 p.m., a resident called to report a man who was seen damaging property at the apartment complex at 1123 Jefferson St. When an officer arrived, he tried to make contact with the man who was standing in the doorway of his apartment.

As the officer approached the man, later identified as Kenneth Smith, 61, of Harper, he said Smith attempted to slam the door on the officer. The officer then caught the door and pushed his way inside.

KBI said preliminary information suggests as the officer entered, he saw Smith was armed with a knife. A fight ensued, during which, the officer pepper-sprayed Smith. The struggle continued until Smith lunged at the officer with the knife.

The officer allegedly fired one shot, which hit Smith’s right arm.

The Bureau said the officer tried to create some distance from Smith by backing out of the apartment. Smith then locked the apartment door.

The KBI said HPD officers and deputies from the Harper Co. Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and forced entry to the apartment. It said they engaged in another short struggle with Smith while they took him into custody.

The Bureau said EMS responded and Smith was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his non-life-threatening gunshot wound. He was then taken to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita where he underwent surgery. He is currently in stable condition.

KBI said no law enforcement officers were injured during the incident.

The Bureau said it will conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the shooting. Once finished, it said the findings will be handed to the Harper County Attorney for review.

This is an ongoing investigation.

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