Cowley County Sheriff Don Read on Monday identified a 22-year-old Arkansas City man, Tayler Rand Rock, as the victim of a fatal officer-involved shooting on Saturday night near Dexter.
During a news conference Monday at the Cowley County Courthouse, Read gave this account of what happened:
At 7:09 p.m. Saturday, a Cowley County sheriff’s deputy stopped Rock’s vehicle, which was heading west on U.S. 166 about a mile west of the K-15 junction, for a license violation. When the deputy approached the vehicle there was a physical altercation, and Rock attempted to drive away through the ditch, dragging the deputy “for some distance,” Read said.
At about 7:12 p.m., the deputy reported that shots were fired; Read said Monday he could not comment on who shot first. When the deputy approached Rock’s vehicle, which had come to a stop in a pasture about a quarter-mile from where he was originally stopped, he discovered a 1-year-old girl in the back seat. The child was removed from the vehicle and placed with motorists who had stopped.
The officer returned to Rock’s vehicle and performed CPR until Arkansas City EMS service arrived. Rock was transported to the South Central Kansas Regional Medical Center, near Arkansas City, where he was later pronounced dead. The child received no medical treatment, said Cowley County Attorney Christopher Smith.
Smith said he was “not going to speculate” on whether the deputy knew there was a child in the car before firing. He also could not say how many shots were fired.
Units from the Arkansas City Police Department, Kansas Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene, Read said.
A section of U.S. 166 was closed until 12:22 p.m. Sunday for investigation.
The deputy was treated for injuries to both lower legs and his left side at the same hospital and was released the same night. The deputy, who has been with the department for eight to nine years, has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation, Read said Monday.
“There are still witnesses that need to be interviewed,” Smith said.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, along with the Kansas Highway Patrol, is investigating the incident.