Crime & Courts

Feds to probe shooting death of suspect

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has sent a shooting incident team to Wichita from Washington, D.C., to review the fatal shooting of the man suspected of ambushing and killing Sedgwick County sheriff's Deputy Brian Etheridge on Monday.

Richard Lyons, 27, was shot to death early Monday evening in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers in a field not far from the house on South Rock Road where Etheridge was shot twice — once in the back with a rifle and once in the leg with his own gun.

Etheridge, 26, died a little more than four hours later at Wesley Medical Center after he was shot. He had gone to Lyons' house in the 3600 block of South Rock Road shortly before noon Monday to follow up on the report of a theft.

The ATF review happens any time bureau agents are involved in a shooting, Sedgwick County Sheriff Bob Hinshaw said.

At least two ATF agents and a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper were looking for Lyons with a Humvee from McConnell Air Force Base, Hinshaw said, when one of the officers spotted Lyons' leg as he hid in a line of trees at about 5:15 p.m. Monday.

When the Humvee stopped so the officers could get a closer look, Lyons stood up and fired at the vehicle with Etheridge's gun. He then took off running, firing more shots.

The officers ran after Lyons, and they returned fire when he shot at them yet again. Lyons was struck by multiple bullets and was pronounced dead at Wesley at about 6:10 p.m.

Hinshaw said authorities are investigating the incident as if they had a suspect in custody and would be presenting evidence to the District Attorney's Office for the possible filing of charges.

"We want to do a complete and thorough investigation to confirm that this was a lone individual" involved in the shooting of Etheridge, Hinshaw said. "We want to make sure we have turned over every rock, dotted every 'I,' crossed every 'T.' "

So far, all evidence indicates Lyons acted alone, he added.

Wichita police, the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation are handling different pieces of that investigation, he said.

There is no timetable for when that report will be presented to the District Attorney's Office.

"It certainly won't be this week," said Georgia Cole, a spokeswoman for the office.

The District Attorney's Office reviews every officer-involved shooting, she said, to see whether force was used appropriately in the incident.

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