Wichita police officers saw a man they were chasing turn and level a handgun at them before one of them opened fire late Sunday night, hitting the man three times, officials said Monday.
The 24-year-old man, whom officials later learned is a documented gang member who had been released from prison in July, is recovering after surgery, Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said. He was in fair condition Monday at Wesley Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.
"One officer fired multiple rounds" in the 400 block of South Fountain at about 10:20 p.m. at the suspect, who had run into the residential area before turning around in a driveway to face officers, Stolz said.
Officials gave this account of the incident:
Two officers on routine patrol were behind a northbound Chevy S-10 pickup when it suddenly attempted to turn left in front of a police patrol car coming south at 13th and Grove just before 10:15 p.m. The driver in the pickup stopped to let the patrol car pass, then turned west onto 13th.
The officers behind the S-10 began following the vehicle, which turned north on Spruce. Because the S-10 had defective lights and had displayed erratic driving behavior, the trailing officers decided to pull the vehicle over.
When they flipped on their lights, however, the S-10 sped away. A chase ensued, reaching speeds of 60 mph or more.
"There were some significant speeds," Stolz said.
The pickup ran several stop signs and red lights during the chase, which included numerous turns. The suspect then turned into the 400 block of South Fountain, which dead-ends against Kellogg.
"I can't believe it was planned" to go there, Stolz said. "I think he just ended up there and tried to run away."
The suspect then got out of the pickup and ran into the surrounding residential area before turning around in the driveway.
"We don't know why he turned around," Stolz said.
It may have simply been because he was trying to figure out somewhere else to run, Stolz said, or he may have decided to confront the officers. But he leveled his gun at the officers, and one of them fired several shots.
"It happens within milliseconds," Stolz said. "All of that added together leads to the situation we have today."
During the chase, officers learned the S-10 had been stolen earlier in the day from a Dollar General store in El Dorado. It's unclear whether the man shot Sunday night was the person who stole the vehicle or whether he got it from someone else, Stolz said.
The shooting victim has a criminal history, Stolz said, and was convicted in 2008 of aggravated battery. He was paroled from state prison on July 13.
He is under guard at the hospital, Stolz said, and will be booked into the Sedgwick County Jail upon his release.
In accordance with department policy, the officers involved in the shooting incident have been placed on administrative duties. Both are veteran officers, Stolz said.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate the incident.