Icarus Randolph was within perhaps six feet as he charged at a Wichita police officer with a large knife before he was fatally wounded by the officer Friday afternoon, Police Chief Norman Williams said.
The officer had used his Taser prior to firing his gun, Williams said Monday, but the Taser was ineffective. Randolph, a 26-year-old military veteran, was pronounced dead at 2 p.m. Friday at Wesley Medical Center, less than an hour after he was shot in the front yard of 7815 E. Clay in southeast Wichita.
A knife “is always a lethal weapon,” Williams said. “When it comes to using deadly force, that is one of the hardest decisions that an officer has to make in their career. That is one they do not take lightly.”
A Wichita police statement, citing FBI statistics, said three law enforcement officers in the U.S. were killed with a knife or other cutting instrument between 2003 and 2012. From 2009-13, the report added, 20 homicides in Wichita involved knives or other cutting devices.
At 1:09 p.m. Friday, 911 received a call about a “suicidal individual” in the 7800 block of East Clay, which is northwest of Lincoln and Rock Road, officials have said. Two officers responding to the call got out of the car and started up the yard of the house. They saw a man running out through the front screen door with a weapon in his hand.
That weapon, Williams said, was a hunting or combat knife with a blade 4 to 5 inches in length.
Residents have been asking why the officer couldn’t have shot Randolph in the arm or leg, he said. The officer only had a few seconds in which to assess and respond to the situation.
“We do not train our officers to shoot somebody in the leg or in the arm,” Williams said. “That is something you see on television. That is something you see in the movies.
“We shoot to stop the threat.”
That means the upper torso, Williams said.
“I can’t think of any law enforcement agency in the country that trains their personnel to shoot in the arm or the leg.”
Per standard procedure, the two officers involved in the shooting incident have been placed on administrative leave while the case is reviewed, Williams said. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident.
One of the officers has been on the force for 15 years, Williams said, the other for about seven.
Randolph is the second person killed in officer-involved shootings in Wichita this year. David Zehring was shot several times early on the morning of April 10 by a police officer as he came at a sheriff’s deputy with a knife on Mount Carmel, just north of Maple in west Wichita.
Two sheriff’s deputies who reached Mount Carmel just after the officer saw Zehring come at the officer with an exposed blade, his arm raised to strike. One deputy deployed his Taser, but the charge had little to no effect on Zehring, who was about 6-feet-3 and 300 pounds.
The use of the Taser turned Zehring’s attention from the officer to the deputy. He started coming at the deputy, prompting the second deputy to deploy his Taser.
Once again, the charge had little effect on Zehring, who threatened the second deputy with the knife.
The officer then fired multiple shots at Zehring, who was hit and collapsed in the street.