Three teens arrested in connection with Tuesday night homicide

Three teenage boys have been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of a 26-year-old man at his house near I-135 in north Wichita on Tuesday night, police said.

The 16-year-old boys were booked into the Sedgwick County Juvenile Detention Facility, Lt. Doug Nolte said. Detectives had been interrogating them since early Wednesday morning following the shooting in the 1700 block of East 23rd Street, homicide Lt. Todd Ojile said.

The shooting just east of I-135 and north of 21st was reported shortly after 8:15 p.m. by a family friend who came to visit and found the screen door and front door open. The friend found the victim, whose name is being withheld pending notification of relatives, gasping for air on a bed in a back bedroom, Lt. Doug Nolte said.

The victim was taken to Wesley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:08 p.m. — less than an hour after he was found.

“We were unable to talk to the victim at any time,” Ojile said.

The shooting occurred “just a few minutes” before the family friend arrived, Ojile said, but she did not see any strangers in the house.

“There was a physical disturbance in the residence prior to the shooting, from the evidence we can see,” Ojile said.

Robbery appears to be a primary possible motive, Ojile said, but other motives can not yet be ruled out.

The victim had been babysitting two young children in the house — a 1-year-old boy and a 6-month-old girl, who were found unharmed in a second bedroom of the house, Nolte said.

The victim lived at the house with his wife, sister and children, Ojile said. The adults who live at the house had been gone for about an hour when the shooting occurred, he said.

This is the fourth homicide of the year in Wichita, authorities said.

A fourth person questioned in relation to the homicide, a man in his early 20s, was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on an unrelated warrant, Nolte said.

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