After fire deaths, Topeka records five homicides in first 20 days of 2023
City had one homicide at same time in 2022 on way to official total of 17 for the year
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - After an intentionally set house fire Friday morning claimed the lives of a woman and two children, Topeka had recorded five homicides in the first 20 days of 2023, according to WIBW records.
The fatal house fire was reported around 5 a.m. Friday at a home at 916 S.W. Warren Ave. The location was midway between S.W. Gage Boulevard on the west and S.W. MacVicar Avenue on the east and was just north of S.W. 10th Avenue.
City officials identified the fatality victims as Genny L. Fitzpatrick, 30; Peyton L. Tyler, 9; and Kourtney K. Tyler, 1, all of Topeka.
A fourth person, Kyle Tyler, 32, of Holton, survived the fire, officials said. He was released from the hospital Saturday before being transported to the Law Enforcement Center for questioning. He was then arrested and booked at 7:20 p.m. Saturday into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with three counts of first-degree murder; four counts of aggravated arson; and two counts of aggravated child endangerment. He remained in jail Monday morning in lieu of $1 million bond.
The city’s other two homicide victims so far in 2023 were identified as:
• Shawn A. Carter, 45, of Topeka, who died in a shooting around 8:51 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, in the 1300 block of S.E. Madison, just south of downtown Topeka. Carter was pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests had been reported as of Monday morning.
• A 16-month-old boy who died Jan. 8 after he was taken to a hospital Jan. 4 in what police said was a child-abuse case. Dustin J. Kelley, 40, of Topeka, was arrested Jan. 12 and booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with first-degree murder; abuse of a child; and aggravated endangering of a child. Police said the child and Kelley were known to one another. Kelley remained in jail Monday morning on $1 million bond.
At the same time a year ago, Topeka had recorded one homicide as of Jan. 23, 2022, on the way to an official 17 slayings on the year. That number didn’t include three officer-involved shooting deaths that occurred during separate altercations between armed suspects and Topeka police officers.
Topeka’s record number of homicides was 30 in 2017.
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