An argument between relatives turned deadly Monday night when a woman fired a shot through a wall while holding a toddler, and the bullet hit a man sitting in a bedroom chair, police said.
Earl Sullivan Jr., 47, was hit in the head at about 6:30 p.m. at 1818 W. Mentor, about a block east of Friends University, and was pronounced dead at the scene, Lt. Ken Landwehr said.
A 34-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder, Landwehr said. She told investigators she had been arguing with her cousin, a 29-year-old man, and fired a shot from the living room through a wall into the bedroom.
“We believe that her cousin...was her intended target,” Landwehr said.
The cousin was in the bedroom with Sullivan at the time of the shooting, Landwehr said, and climbed out of a window to alert neighbors to the shooting.
“There was a malfunction in that handgun - that’s why we believe only one round was fired,” he said. “The gun was incapable of firing after that.”
Several people, including the woman eventually arrested, called 911 to report the shooting, Landwehr said.
While a significant amount of prescription medication and a small amount of illegal drugs was found in the house, police do not think the dispute revolved around drugs.
“It’s hard to understand what the fight was about,” Landwehr said.
Family members told investigators the woman was upset with her cousin, believing he had stolen things from her. He, in turn, accused her of being paranoid. They had been staying at the house for a couple of weeks.
The 39-year-old man leasing the house was asleep in a bedroom when the shooting occurred. Sullivan was visiting the suspect’s cousin when the shooting occurred.
The woman’s little girl, who is nearly 2, has been placed in the care of other family members.
This is the 24th homicide of the year in Wichita, Landwehr said.