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Wichita police release 911 calls in fatal shooting involving officers

John Paul Quintero, 23, was shot by police outside this residence on North Oliver on Saturday after a disturbance was reported to 911 operators. (Jan. 4, 2015)
John Paul Quintero, 23, was shot by police outside this residence on North Oliver on Saturday after a disturbance was reported to 911 operators. (Jan. 4, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

The frantic call came in to 911 early Saturday evening.

“Like my nephew’s at my daughter’s house … he has a knife. He’s drunk, he’s high … his daughter’s there. My son-in-law’s there trying to hold him back. Somebody’s gonna end up getting hurt.”

The caller, identified in the 911 transcript as Gabriela Torres, was telling an emergency dispatcher about her nephew, John Paul Quintero, who Torres said was armed with a knife at her daughter’s house in the 500 block of North Oliver shortly before 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

Quintero was later shot by officers who responded to the call. The officers said Quintero did not comply with orders to put his hands on the SUV after he got out of the vehicle and was shot when he reportedly reached for his waistband.

Police officials on Tuesday released audio of the 911 calls and transcripts of four calls related to the incident.

“We feel that this is one way we can be transparent in this matter,” interim Police Chief Nelson Mosley said. “We strive for open communications.”

Though officers were told on multiple occasions that Quintero was armed with a knife, no knife was recovered, Mosley said.

Members of Quintero’s family have criticized how police handled the situation, saying they escalated tensions that led to the shooting.

“One fact is, police shot an unarmed man,” Alina Quintero, a cousin of the victim, said this week.

Family members also are upset that John Paul Quintero was handcuffed after being critically injured.

The department is investigating whether its use-of-force policy was followed properly, Mosley said. Neither officer was wearing a body camera, he said.

The case remains under investigation, Mosley said. The two officers involved in the shooting incident are on administrative leave, in accordance with departmental policy.

The shooting

According to authorities, officers responding to the call parked down the block and approached an SUV parked in the driveway. Quintero, 23, was on the passenger side of the SUV. His 44-year-old father was on the driver’s side.

Police say Quintero’s father got out of the SUV and was compliant, but Quintero was “belligerent and confrontational” toward officers.

He got out of the SUV and approached one officer toward the back of the SUV, who retreated from him because he was not complying with verbal commands. The other officer ordered Quintero to show his hands, police say. Quintero verbally threatened the officers, they said.

The second officer used his Taser on Quintero when he did not comply with orders to put his hands on the SUV. But the Taser had no effect, police say, and Quintero then stepped toward the second officer.

When the first officer reportedly saw Quintero reach for his waistband, she fired two shots from her patrol rifle, hitting Quintero twice in the middle of his body. He was taken to Wesley Medical Center, where he died early Sunday morning.

The 911 calls

In the first of two calls to 911, Torres reports Quintero said “he’s gonna kill himself and then gonna kill somebody and my grandsons are there.”

Torres also told dispatchers Quintero had a knife in his hand.

A caller identified in the transcript as Celina Saiz told 911 that Quintero was “at the door right now. Kicking the door and he’s got a knife.”

Saiz said she had locked the door to protect herself, two other adults and four children. During the 911 call, Saiz said Quintero threatened his father with the knife and also said she “recorded a video of him threatening my cousin.”

Torres called 911 again after Quintero was shot.

“I need an ambulance quickly. The cops just shot my nephew.”

Torres was not at the house where the shooting occurred, which caused some confusion for the dispatcher. Once the ambulance was dispatched, the dispatcher asked who else was at the house.

As part of her answer, Torres said, “My brother was trying to get him … in the vehicle to leave because he was causing problems at my daughter’s house and he was … threatening them with a knife.”

“He was threatening them with a knife?” the dispatcher asked.

“Yeah.”

“Your nephew was?”

“Yes. He was drunk. He’s not – he’s not all there right now. He’s drunk and I don’t know if he did any type of drugs or not.”

Torres said she wasn’t sure because she wasn’t at the house. She was relaying what her daughter told her.

“She called me crying, terrified.”

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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