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City Council asked to approve $25,500 settlement in apartment standoff

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Sep. 22, 2013, at 12:04 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, at 11:09 a.m.

The largest settlement involving apartments damaged in the July police standoff will come before the Wichita City Council for approval Tuesday.

The city’s law department is recommending the council approve the settlement of $25,500 for Justin Zoucher, according to a city document.

Zoucher was a resident at the Southlake Village Apartments, where Wichita police were involved in a 32-hour standoff with Jared Woosypiti, 24. He was killed July 11 in a gunfight at the complex.

Twelve claims were filed by apartment tenants, seeking $113,992. Seven of those have been settled.

On Sept. 10, the council approved a $20,000 settlement for Alyssa Cooper and Derrick Jochum, whose apartment was heavily damaged during the standoff.

City Attorney Gary Rebenstorf said Friday that he and City Manager Robert Layton had exercised their authority to approve settlements for six claims. Layton can approve settlements up to $10,000 and the city attorney up to $5,000.

If the council approves the Zoucher settlement as expected, that would leave four claims seeking $60,466 to be settled, Rebenstorf said.

All four claims probably will be settled for amounts within Layton’s approval range, Rebenstorf said.

During the standoff, officers fired tear gas, detonated explosives and shot water into the apartments to drive out Woosypiti, who took refuge in the complex after a shooting at a south Wichita Kmart.

As in the case of the previous settlement, Tuesday’s proposed council action includes a bonding resolution, which would allow the city to issue general obligation bonds to pay the $25,500 through a self-insurance fund set up for such incidents.

The city made the settlement offer, the document says, because of the “uncertainty and risk of an adverse judgment at trial.”

The settlement doesn’t mean an admission of liability on the city’s part, the document states.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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