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Suspect in recent carjackings hospitalized after police shooting

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, March 29, 2013, at 3:27 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, March 30, 2013, at 1:43 p.m.

Someone shouted “Stop!” Then gunshots – at least five or six, Emily Trowbridge said – broke the silence.

She had just stepped outside her southeast Wichita home when, minutes later, police shot a suspected carjacker fleeing from authorities Friday afternoon.

“It’s like we’re in a nice neighborhood surrounded by some not-so-savory events,” said Trowbridge, who has lived in a house on Briarcliff Court for 22 years, on the fringe on Cottonwood Park. “It’s become an expressway to crime.”

A man suspected in a series of carjackings was shot at least twice by police Friday in the 7200 block of East Zimmerly, Wichita police Capt. Hassan Ramzah said. That’s south of Lincoln, near the park.

Authorities chased the man, in his 30s, for several minutes by car and on foot before ordering him to the ground in the southeast Wichita neighborhood. Police said they fired multiple shots after the man drew a weapon and pointed it at an officer shortly before 3 p.m.

The man was taken to Wesley Medical Center with critical injuries, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said.

No officers were hurt in the pursuit or shooting, Ramzah said.

He gave this account of Friday’s events:

The incident started around 2 p.m., when a woman reported that a man had stolen her green Saturn at gunpoint from the Dillons store at 9450 E. Harry. As police took her report, other officers investigating carjackings reported this week in the area saw a man driving the stolen car south on Governeour near Lincoln and pursued him.

At some point during the chase, the man pointed a handgun at police.

The man pulled onto Bayley, then drove over a curb and behind a business in the 7100 block of East Harry, where he “struck an unknown object.”

He then abandoned the Saturn and ran through a field and some brush adjacent to Harry. An officer reported that the man fired his weapon at him an unknown number of times during the foot chase.

Ramzah said police ordered the man to the ground, whereupon he pointed a weapon at an officer, prompting the shooting.

“That officer discharged his weapon, striking the suspect,” Ramzah said.

Moments before the shooting, Don Greenberg said, he heard a single gunshot fired south of his home, then saw a man toting a white drawstring bag run by, chased by armed officers.

He heard more shots – “about 10 to 12 over this direction,” he said, pointing north toward Zimmerly Street.

“It wasn’t like a pow, pow, pow, pow!” Greenberg said. “It was like one, then maybe two. And then another one. … It wasn’t a rapid fire.”

South of the shooting scene, officers guarded the green Saturn. Its driver’s door was wedged into the front end of a white passenger car, the result of an apparent collision between the two vehicles in the parking lot of Convergys Corp., a call center on Harry.

Police and witnesses involved in the shooting and the carjacking at Dillons were taken to City Hall for questioning, Ramzah said. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting the police investigation, he said.

Ramzah said police continue to investigate the man’s involvement in other crimes reported this week. They include an armed robbery Thursday at Las Tarascas Bakery, 5701 E. Lincoln, and a carjacking at Towne East Square, which authorities think are connected.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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