Topeka Police officer shot in firefight with murder suspect
Incident stemmed from murder in 3500 block of SW Kerry Ave.
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Topeka Police officer was hit by gunfire in a shootout with a murder suspect in Downtown Topeka Thursday morning.
The incident stemmed from a shooting about an hour earlier on Topeka’s south side that left one person dead and another injured.
Murder on SW Kerry
The Topeka Police Dept. said officers responded to a home in the 3500 block of SW Kerry Ave. just after 9:30 a.m. on reports of a shooting.
When officers arrived, they located one person who would later be pronounced dead at the scene, and another that was injured. The victim was taken to a local hospital via AMR for treatment.
TPD says both victims were injured by suspected gunshot wounds. Both were adults, one male and one female. TPD did not specify if it was the man or woman who died.
During their investigation, approximately eight homes and yards were cordoned off with crime scene tape. The home with the most police activity is at 3530 SW Kerry.
Capt. Jerry Monasmith told 13 NEWS that all parties involved have been accounted for and the suspect or suspects and victims know one another.
Monasmith says he believes the suspect or suspects have been located, but could not confirm as of 11 a.m.
Several units at the murder scene abruptly left around 10:45 a.m. when officials saw the suspect vehicle on Thursday. Shortly after, scanner traffic indicated a high-speed chase and possible shootout with suspects involved in the murder on Topeka’s east side.
Police Chase & Shootout
Topeka Police later confirmed that the suspect’s vehicle was spotted by a Topeka Police Officer near Topeka’s Hi-Crest Neighborhood. They sped away, but the pursuit ended a short time later in Downtown Topeka near SW 6th Ave. and S. Kansas Ave. as the suspects fired shots at officers which continued throughout the entire pursuit.
After the suspect’s vehicle crashed, TPD says the suspect fired at responding officers, hitting one. TPD says the officer was taken to a local hospital for treatment -- the extent of the officer’s injuries were not disclosed.
TPD noted that the officer was wearing a department-issued vest which saved him from serious injury and has since been treated and released.
Witnesses told 13 NEWS that they saw police shortly after attempting to confront the suspects in the area of 6th and Kansas Ave. when the suspect turned their guns on officers. A firefight ensued. Two cars - a gold sedan and a police cruiser - could be seen with bullet holes in the windshields.
One witness told 13 NEWS that they heard around 30 shots fired.
Video obtained by 13 NEWS from a viewer shows police open fire on what is believed to be a suspect in the murder on SW Kerry. The video shows a large group of law enforcement, with guns drawn, approach a wrecked vehicle after several shots were fired. The video shows police pull someone from the car a short time later.
Witness tell 13 NEWS that the person that was pulled from the car was a man, and there was a woman in the passenger seat.
Scanner traffic indicated that both were hit by gunfire, however, TPD would not confirm if both were hit.
TPD said one suspect was taken to the hospital with critical injuries and continues to be guarded by law enforcement. He said another was also taken to the hospital but was in stable condition.
Police have roped off 6th St. in Downtown Topeka from S. Kansas Ave. to Quincy and areas beyond.
Officers did say just before 11:30 a.m. that there was no longer any threat to the public. They also indicated that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation would be taking over the investigation.
Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Rogers, whose office is in the area, said he was in a meeting with KPERS Trustees during the incident.
“We are deeply grateful to the men and women of law enforcement working to protect the citizens of Topeka,” Treasurer Rogers said. “I commend their quick response, and we appreciate that they managed the situation with professionalism.”
Rogers noted that he was informed by staff as police responded.
“We took quick action to lock down both the KPERs board meeting and the State Treasurer’s Office to ensure the safety of those around us,” said Treasurer Rogers. “In a situation like this we are reminded how important it is to have our Law Enforcement Officers and security plans in place.”
Rogers also said that he extends his support to the Topeka community and the officers involved.
TPD entered walk-in accident reporting around 1 p.m. as officers were tied up in the investigation.
During walk-in accident reporting TPD said officers will only respond to the following:
- Injury, possible injury or death to any person
- Possible impairment of a driver due to drugs or alcohol
- Hit-and-run incidents
- Incidents where there is a disturbance between the parties involved
- Any hazardous material situation
- When the accident results in major traffic congestion
- When there is damage to a vehicle to the extent that towing is required
TPD has asked anyone with video of the incident to send that evidence to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation so investigators may have a more complete picture of the scene.
Police Chief Bryan Wheeles described the incident as large scale which encompassed most of the city.
Officials did note that the incident could have seen a much higher fatality rate with the downtown setting and level of violence involved.
TPD indicated that it will continue to investigate the homicide as KBI investigates the officer-involved shooting.
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