Wichita police are investigating whether a Wichita State University police officer should have shot at a car after numerous fights and reports of shots being fired on campus Saturday after a dance for high schoolers, WSU police chief Paul Dotson said Sunday.
Dotson said the university asked Wichita police to take the lead in investigating the dance and its aftermath. No injuries were reported. At least three people were in custody Sunday, Dotson said.
Dotson described a chaotic scene at the dance in the Rhatigan Student Center, attended by 300 to 350 people.
He gave this account:
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Three university police were initially assigned to the dance, which started at 9 p.m. Fights broke out at 10:45 p.m. when the dance ended.
Officers tried to break up the fights as the crowd spilled from the ballroom, through hallways and down the stairwells.
"Police were trying to break up the fights as more fights were breaking out," Dotson said. "More officers were called to the event as this mass of people spilled out into the parking lot."
At that point, seven campus police officers were on the scene.
"As this was happening, patrons of the dance reported hearing gunshots in the west portion of the large parking lot," Dotson said.
Wichita police were then called in to assist.
"Different people were seeing different things at different times," Dotson said. "As police officers were going toward the sounds of gunfire, people were leaving and seeking cover."
Dotson said officers could find no victims of the reported gunshots.
He said the campus police officer who fired at one car as it was leaving the parking lot has served on the force for at least 35 years.
"The police officer understood that the car coming toward him was the car from where the shooting was coming from," Dotson said. "He was waving at the car to stop. He was in full uniform. He fired shots at the driver's left tire, striking the tire and in the vehicle's rear wheel well."
The car was later located at 14th and Pershing.
Dotson identified the dance's sponsors as the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
"The organization that sponsored the dance was allowing entrance without photo IDs," he said. "It was not WSU students who were attending but high school students."
The organization did not have any high school administrators or teachers helping supervise the event, he said.
No one from the fraternity could be reached for comment late Sunday.
Dotson said that asking Wichita police to investigate is standard whenever a campus officer uses force. The results of the investigation will be presented to the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office, he said.