Robert Scharoun ignored repeated police commands to drop his pointed rifle before officers opened fire early Friday, Police Chief Norman Williams said Monday.
He got back to his feet inside the Wilson Estates development shortly before 3 a.m., still holding the rifle, and pointed it at them again, so they fired a second volley of shots at the 41-year-old businessman.
Scharoun was taken to Wesley Medical Center, where he died more than three hours later.
"The officers had no other recourse," Williams said.
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Investigators found a round in the chamber of the rifle, five rounds remaining in the magazine clip and still more ammunition in Scharoun's car, Williams said.
"We could have easily had two homicides," he said.
Investigators found nothing at Scharoun's most recent residence in the 13400 block of East Mainsgate that shed light on why he went back to his former house in Wilson Estates and then on the shooting rampage, Williams said.
Scharoun appeared to have been in the old house for a couple of hours before he began shooting.
More than a dozen calls came in to 911 early on Friday morning, starting at about 2:20 a.m., from residents in and near the 8900 block of Churchill Court, which is south of 21st Street between Rock Road and Webb Road.
One caller said a white man was walking around in a white robe and carrying a rifle, Williams said. Another told the 911 dispatcher they heard someone shout, "I'm going to kill you!"
Scharoun used to live at 8917 East Churchill Court, and investigators still don't know why he returned — or why he fired on the house just north of his former house.
The first officer arrived at 2:31 a.m., Williams said. As officers carefully moved closer toward 8917 East Churchill Court, they saw Scharoun moving items from a white sedan in the driveway to a row of bushes on the south side of the house.
They turned out to be children's toys in plastic storage containers, Williams said.
As officers watched, they saw a Ford F-150 pickup drive along Churchill Court. Charlene Barnum was delivering papers in the cul-de-sac for The Eagle.
Scharoun fired one shot at Barnum's pickup, Williams said. The round punched holes in the windshield and rear-view mirror before lodging in the driver's side headrest — about an inch from Barnum's head.
After firing at Barnum, Williams said, Scharoun went into the garage, which was accessible because he had rammed the sedan through the garage doors and then backed out.
He then saw or heard officers closing in on the vacant house, so he ran into the backyard through an open gate.
Officers lost sight of him, but heard him fire more shots — this time at the house north of his former residence.
That house was struck at least three times, according to police — once through a basement window and twice upstairs.
Scharoun then climbed over the 8-foot privacy fence, with the help of a utility box, and began to break into the house at which he fired, which was in the 2000 block of Keeneland.
A woman who lived at the house called 911 at 2:39 a.m. to report someone was breaking in, then fled across the street to seek shelter.
As officers worked their way east, attempting to seal off the area, Scharoun came around the corner of the white wooden privacy fence.
"When we lost sight of him" as he darted into the backyard of the house on Churchill Court, "we had no idea where this suspect was at this point in time," Williams said.
Scharoun leveled his rifle at the officers briefly as they looked for cover, then retreated back around the corner of the privacy fence.
Moments later, he came back around the corner, again leveling his rifle at a police supervisor, Williams said. The supervisor fired several shots at him, and three other officers in the immediate area also fired.
Scharoun went down momentarily, but then got back onto his feet and pointed the rifle at officers again. A second volley of shots knocked him down again.
He was shot at 2:51 a.m. —20 minutes after the first officer arrived at the scene, Williams said.
Rifles are not part of the Wichita Police Department arsenal, so the officers were facing a man armed with high-powered rifle with only their duty weapons. Police records show it was a .243 rifle, commonly used to hunt deer or smaller animals.
"You're always concerned when a suspect has a weapon of that magnitude," Williams said, but he added, "the weapons that we had in possession allowed us to stop the threat."
Why Scharoun opened fire in the neighborhood and then challenged the officers "is a mystery," Williams said. "Even in talking with family members, they have no idea why he would exhibit the behavior he did."
Investigators are still trying to confirm how many rounds Scharoun fired before he confronted police, Williams said.
Court records show Scharoun went through a divorce in 2007 and had a protection from abuse order filed against him by his ex-wife in 2008. He has no criminal history, Williams said.
He was the owner of a ValuePlace, a hybrid apartment/hotel operation, in Tulsa. He was also a franchisee of ValuePlace for the Tulsa area.
"That property had been doing well," said Greg Kossover, chief executive of ValuePlace LLC.
"Our thoughts are with... the family and all they are going through," Kossover said of Scharoun's ex-wife and two children.
He also praised the police officers who handled the incident.
"They appear to have handled this very professionally, with a great deal of care," he said.
All four officers involved in the shooting incident have been placed on administrative leave until a department psychologist deems them ready to return to street duty, Williams said.
In accordance with department policy, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation into the incident. The results of that investigation will then be submitted to the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office for review.
Two of the officers involved have 13 years with the department, Williams said, one has five and the fourth has two.
Scharoun was the second person killed by police officers in a week in Wichita.
Jerome Dixon, 32, was shot to death by an officer when he raised and pointed a 9mm handgun at the officer as he stepped outside of an apartment in the 4818 E. New Jersey Drive, northeast of Oliver and 31st South, just before midnight on Nov. 5.
The officer had identified himself and issued commands to drop the gun before he fired, police officials have said.
In both incidents, Williams said, "our officers were placed in a position where they had to make split-second decisions.
"You don't have time to twiddle your thumbs, because lives are at stake."