City denies $411,441 claim from Southlake Village in apartment standoff

Police investigators go through the apartment that Jared Woosypiti holed up in at Southlake Village during a standoff. (July 12, 2013)
Police investigators go through the apartment that Jared Woosypiti holed up in at Southlake Village during a standoff. (July 12, 2013) File photo

City Hall has denied a $411,441 claim for damages and lost rent from the insurer of Southlake Village, the south Wichita apartment complex heavily damaged in a 32-hour police standoff last summer.

Meanwhile, the apartments damaged during the standoff between Jared Woosypiti and police are set to reopen in a couple of weeks, nearly six months after the standoff.

Woosypiti, 24, was killed by police gunfire after he holed up in the complex after a chase. He was wanted for stabbing his girlfriend July 4 in Derby and for firing shots in a south Wichita Kmart later that month.

The city is asserting immunity from the damages under the Kansas Tort Claims Act, a state law essentially establishing the government acts against citizens that carry liability, said Gary Rebenstorf, the city’s director of law.

The city has paid 10 claims from the Woosypiti standoff totaling $60,533.34. The claim from Auto-Owners Insurance Co., for damages to the complex and lost rental profits, is the largest of a little more than $413,000 in three claims denied by the city.

Council member Janet Miller declined comment on the claim denial, saying it could be the subject of future litigation. However, Rebenstorf said this week that no lawsuits have been filed in the case.

Miller said she’s glad that some of the Southlake Village residents will be able to return home.

“It’s unfortunate these people were displaced. It’s unfortunate when anyone is displaced from their home for a long period of time,” she said. “It’s unfortunate this individual took the actions that made our reactions necessary, actions that led to these people being displaced from their homes.”

Brent Davis, one of the Southlake Village owners, said work on the damaged apartments should be done in 10 to 14 days, about six months after the standoff ended.

“We’re going to be very happy to have these folks moved back in,” he said.

Even with the insurance settlement, Davis said the complex’s ownership group will end up “out $20,000 or $25,000.” He was noncommittal about asking City Hall to pick up that tab.

“We’re still kind of in the middle of everything,” he said. “We haven’t figured all that out.”

Woosypiti was killed July 11 in a gunfight at the apartments. Six apartments were damaged when officers fired tear gas, detonated loud explosive devices and shot water into the apartments to try to drive him out after he fled a shooting at a south Wichita Kmart and took refuge in the complex.

In September, the council approved a $20,000 settlement to Alyssa Cooper and Derrick Jochum, who lost clothing, furniture and food when their apartment was destroyed. Police told Cooper that Woosypiti broke into her apartment through a wall.

Also in September, the council approved a $25,500 settlement with Justin Zoucher, another Southlake resident.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle