Butler County sheriff details capture of fugitive in Monday’s shooting

09/06/2013 7:34 AM

08/06/2014 9:45 AM

A 41-year-old fugitive accused in a Labor Day shoot-out with a sheriff’s deputy returned to Butler County in handcuffs Friday after four days on the run.

Jan Tracy Kilbourne, 41, was charged Friday afternoon in Butler County District Court with attempted capital murder in the shooting of Deputy Jacob Lawrence, who was wounded during a traffic stop Monday along U.S. 54 near Santa Fe Lake Road.

Kilbourne also faces one count of criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of interfering with a law enforcement officer, court records show. All are felonies.

Bond was set at $1 million after Judge David Ricke determined Kilbourne posed a “high flight risk.” He is due back in court Oct. 11 for a preliminary hearing.

The climax to the multi-county dragnet occurred earlier in the day near Kellogg and Oliver in Wichita, where a tip led officers to their elusive target.

The capture

In a briefing for reporters, Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet gave details of Kilbourne’s capture:

At 2:40 a.m. officers, including members of the Wichita rapid response team, approached a home in the 700 block of South Terrace after receiving information that Kilbourne was there.

Kilbourne was hiding in a car behind the residence, and as the officers approached, he jumped out of the car and was arrested by the Wichita police SCAT team and a Butler County sheriff’s detective.

After days on the run, he had a beard and was wearing a wig and jeans but no shirt, Herzet said.

Kilbourne was treated at an El Dorado hospital for what appeared to be a gunshot wound that went through his left hip area, apparently from the deputy who returned fire Monday.

Kilbourne gave up without a struggle: He was surrounded and had no place to escape to, Herzet said.

“He was able to get away from us for four or five days, but now he’s in custody,” Herzet said.

It’s not clear if Kilbourne was the one who burglarized a Cowley County home on Wednesday, prompting a search there, Herzet said.

“He seemed to be in good spirits up at the hospital. He wasn’t talking. He invoked” his right to remain silent, Herzet said.

He didn’t seem to be harmed by the elements or have injuries that could have come from running through timber, Herzet said.

It’s not clear yet how Kilbourne got to Wichita, Herzet said, stressing that it was early in an ongoing investigation.

The gun used to shoot the deputy has not been recovered, he said.

The home where Kilbourne was arrested apparently has a lot of drug activity, and Kilbourne knew a lot of people there, Herzet said.

Technology used to track cellphones was key in finding Kilbourne, Herzet said. It also involved “good old-fashioned police work.”

Court appearance

Kilbourne appeared in court Friday dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, handcuffs, shackles and a full beard. He rocked slightly in an office chair while awaiting the start of his hearing. Several deputies stood guard.

Kilbourne, who appeared subdued throughout the hearing, didn’t stand when Ricke, the judge, entered the courtroom.

“I trust you are Jan Tracy Kilbourne,” Ricke said as court began.

Kilbourne nodded. He replied with a soft “yes” after the judge asked him to speak into a microphone sitting on the defense table.

Later Kilbourne didn't immediately answer when the judge asked whether he was unemployed.

“You don’t have any job or source of income?”

“Disability,” Kilbourne said softly.

In justifying his request for a $1 million bond, Butler County Attorney Darrin Devinney mentioned law enforcement’s four-day manhunt for Kilbourne – calling his propensity to flee if released on bond “extremely high.”

Devinney also read a list of Kilbourne’s misdemeanor and felony offenses stretching back to 1998, including drug and theft convictions, and a Seward County case that landed Kilbourne in prison. He later absconded while on parole, Devinney told the judge.

“It was a regular traffic stop, judge, and Mr. Kilbourne fired without warning … and continued to fire,” Devinney said, referring to Monday’s shooting.

“… His mental condition is somewhat curious as to why he chose such a violent reaction to what would otherwise be a peaceful traffic stop.”

Attorney Stephany Hughes, who represented Kilbourne on Friday in court because his court-appointed lawyer was out of town, did not object to the bond request. Given the chance, Kilbourne declined to address the court.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to Kilbourne’s arrest and conviction.

The shooting

Around 5:15 a.m. Monday, Deputy Lawrence had stopped a suspicious car along U.S. 54 near Santa Fe Lake Road, authorities have said. A passenger in the front seat shot the officer in the shoulder area. Lawrence, whose protective vest stopped the bullet, fired back and wounded the suspect by the bullet or flying glass.

The gunman left a blood trail initially. A 37-year-old man driving the car and his 24-year-old girlfriend, both of Hutchinson, were interviewed and released, authorities have said.

Since the shooting, Kilbourne had appeared to escape extensive searches in three counties – Reno on Saturday, Butler on Monday and possibly Cowley on Wednesday, authorities say.

Detectives had been working on the case for 27 hours at a time, Herzet said.

“This has been a big, big effort from a lot of people. Multiple law enforcement agencies have been involved in this.”

Contributing: Stan Finger of The Eagle

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