A congressional candidate who had planned on a five-hour ride-along with the Wichita Police Department ended up being part of police response to a high-speed chase in which shots were fired.
“It was coincidental that right before this all happened, I had made a note to the officer saying, ‘So are we going to see some action today?’ and I was kidding, obviously, and about ten minutes later this all started happening,” said Laura Lombard, a Democratic candidate in the Fourth Congressional District in south-central Kansas.
Lombard said she was riding with officer James Wannow heading east I-135 when the chase was called in around 10 a.m. Wednesday, after Elijah Martinez, 23 was reported to be stealing mail in a stolen vehicle with Katrina Thomas, 22. Martinez opened fire on police officers at the 700 block of North Gilda, police have said.
Lombard said Wannow immediately turned around after hearing the dispatch and headed west on Kellogg toward the original crime scene. They continued further west after dispatchers updated them on the chase.
“Police units, you could see them, they were coming from all over,” she said.
Lombard said they met up with the chase near Seneca and Maple. Since she was in the car, they pulled over onto a side street, just to be safe.
“He actually told me to get down,” Lombard said. The dispatcher had told them shots had been fired.
Lombard said Wannow ended up doing traffic control. Since they were some distance away, she did not see the arrest.
Lombard said she thought the department showed extraordinary professionalism and communication skills during the chase.
“The communication between the dispatcher and all of the different police units was really impressive to watch,” she said.