Burglary suspect shot by police officer in southwest Wichita

01/14/2013 3:24 PM

01/14/2013 3:24 PM

A man wanted on a federal warrant who had eluded a police chase earlier in the evening fired a shot at an officer behind a garage in southwest Wichita late Sunday night, then was seriously wounded when the officer returned fire, authorities said.

The exchange of gunfire in the backyard of a house in the 2500 block of West Dallas, near Pawnee and Meridian, at about 11 p.m. Sunday was the culmination of a manhunt that began shortly before 7 p.m. when officers spotted a stolen car that had been linked to the suspect, Wichita police Lt. Todd Ojile said.

The Special Community Action Team officers saw the Camaro at Broadway and Kinkaid and attempted to pull the car over. After initially stopping at Mount Vernon and Water, the driver raced away when the officers exited the patrol car, Ojile said. A chase began through residential areas, with speeds reaching 90 to 100 miles per hour, he said.

The chase lasted 5 to 10 minutes before officers lost the car in the area of 27th and St. Paul, Ojile said. It was later found abandoned in the 2500 block of Dallas.

An extensive search of the area did not turn up the 31-year-old suspect, Ojile said. But at about 11 p.m. Sunday, a 64-year-old woman heard a noise at her back door and saw a man on her back porch when she went to check it out. She called a family member to report it, and her daughter and son-in-law came over to investigate, Ojile said.

They spotted a man hiding in a shed in the back yard. At about that same time, the woman who lives at the house called 911 to report a burglary in progress. Two officers who were assisting a Crime Scene Investigation team gathering evidence from the stolen Camaro three houses down the block responded to the scene and saw the suspect running through the backyard.

One officer followed the suspect, Ojile said, while the other ran around to the front of the garage in an attempt to cut him off. When the first officer came around the corner of the garage, the suspect turned and fired at him.

“We know he fired at least one round,” Ojile said of the suspect.

The officer fired numerous shots in response, striking the suspect three times, Ojile said.

A Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said the man was hit in the upper arm and upper leg, though Ojile would not confirm where bullets struck the suspect.

The man was taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where he underwent surgery and is expected to survive, Ojile said. He is under armed guard and will be taken to the Sedgwick County Jail upon release.

“He has an extensive history with the Wichita Police Department,” Ojile said. “The suspect had a federal warrant out for his arrest.”

Evidence linked the suspect at the house to the chase earlier in the evening, he said.

Neither officer was injured in the incident, Ojile said. The officer who shot the suspect is a two-year veteran of the police force. He has been placed on administrative leave pending a review of the shooting incident, in accordance with department policy.

The suspect has an extensive criminal history and is a convicted felon, Ojile said.

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