After a long, fruitless day of searching, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office scaled back the manhunt for the suspect in the shooting of a Butler County sheriff’s deputy.
Authorities said the suspect, identified as Jan Tracy Kilbourne, 41, shot the deputy after he stopped a suspicious car near U.S. 54 and Santa Fe Lake Road at 5:15 a.m. Monday.
The deputy, whose name wasn’t released, was taken to the hospital, treated and released to rest at home, said Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet.
“He’s doing well. He’s doing OK,” Herzet said of the deputy. He said the deputy has been with the department for about three years.
Herzet said his best guess is that the suspect, who was wounded in the shooting, escaped the four-square-mile search area.
The public is being advised to keep a lookout for Kilbourne, who was wearing blue jeans, a red shirt and black biker boots and has facial hair. He is believed to be armed.
Officers will patrol the perimeter of the search area Monday night and resume a broader search on Tuesday.
Investigators will re-interview those who know Kilbourne in hopes of gaining clues as to where he may be headed. Herzet said the suspect has acquaintances in Wichita, Hutchinson and Liberal.
“This is far from over,” Herzet said.
It was an intensely frustrating end to a long and tiring day, which began shortly after the call from the agitated, wounded deputy came in to dispatchers at 5:15 a.m.
The deputy was on patrol when he saw a car moving slowly in the parking lot of construction company APAC-Kansas, 11221 SW U.S. 54. There have been a number of thefts in the area.
The deputy stopped the car and obtained the identification of the three people inside. There was a delay in checking for arrest warrants and the deputy was on the verge of letting them go when he learned that Liberal officials wanted one of the suspects. He approached the car on the driver’s side. The man in the front passenger seat shot him. The officer was hit in the right shoulder. His bullet-proof vest blocked the bullet but not its full impact.
The deputy returned fire, Herzet said. The suspect was wounded either by the deputy’s bullet or by flying glass, ran around the nearby building and kept going.
The deputy radioed for help. On an audio recording of the scanner provided by Radioreference.com, the deputy can be heard saying, “I’m shot! I’m shot! I’m shot!”
Andover and Augusta officers arrived minutes later.
The driver and the driver’s girlfriend didn’t move. They have been cooperative and, at this point, will not be charged, Herzet said.
The manhunt grew quickly, especially once it got light. Officers found a slight blood trail that they eventually discovered led into the woods beyond the company’s sand and gravel piles, Herzet said.
Eventually up to 100 officers from a variety of state and local agencies searched a rolling landscape of creeks, forested areas, farms and a considerable number of large and small buildings and businesses. Police shut down U.S. 54 between Santa Fe Lake Road and Andover Road until midafternoon to aid in the search. They went house to house on the north side of the highway.
Helicopters from the Wichita Police Department and Kansas Highway Patrol alternated circling overhead. There were four search dog teams and two volunteers from Cowley County who are experts in tracking humans, Herzet said.
Authorities have been looking for Kilbourne since he absconded on July 24 from Cimarron Basin Community Corrections in Liberal, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections website.
Kilbourne has had troubles with the law for more than a decade, according to state corrections records.
In August 2012, Kilbourne was sentenced to community corrections after being convicted of numerous charges – including drug possession, criminal threat, criminal possession of a firearm and fleeing law enforcement – for offenses he committed on Dec. 24, 2011.
He wasn’t confined to a facility at the time he absconded in July, corrections department spokesman Jeremy Barclay said in an e-mail. But he was being supervised in the community by a Seward County probation officer.
Kilbourne was convicted on drug charges in Seward County in 2001 and in Stevens County in 2002, according to the corrections department. He served in several state facilities before his sentence expired in 2009.
Contributing: Jerry Siebenmark and Travis Heying of The Eagle.