Crime & Courts

Court record: Alleged Wichita store gunman had a weapon returned to him after previous case

Months before a Wichita man allegedly fired a handgun at a security guard and pointed it at others in a Burlington Coat Factory store on Monday, authorities seized a gun from him after he was arrested with a concealed weapon, a court record shows.

But the February case was dismissed in March, and police were ordered to return his gun to him because he had a concealed-carry permit, according to a municipal court document, obtained by The Eagle on Tuesday, a day after Monday’s store shooting.

According to a police report on the February incident, the suspect in Monday’s shooting at Eastgate Mall had been arrested early on the morning of Feb. 13 at 2000 E. Pawnee.

In Monday’s shooting at the store near one of Wichita’s busiest intersections, Kellogg and Rock Road, investigators are trying to determine whether the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or some mental or physical condition, police Deputy Chief Tom Stolz said.

Stolz said the man initially drew attention in the store because he looked “mentally or physically disheveled.” From the investigation so far, it doesn’t appear the man had any prior mental condition, he said.

On Tuesday, Stolz identified the alleged gunman as Jake L. Jacobs, 27, of Wichita.

According to a Wichita Municipal Court record of the February incident, Jacobs was cited for carrying a concealed revolver. An accompanying document, dated March 5, said Jacobs has a concealed-carry permit “but did not have it on him. … Case has been dismissed & WPD is ordered to return weapon.”

Stolz, addressing Monday’s shooting, said police found a medium-caliber revolver in Jacobs’ pants and that it had four or five bullets remaining in the cylinder and one spent round.

“We’re lucky,” Stolz said. “He had enough rounds in that gun that he could have shot more.” A police report indicates it was a .38-caliber revolver.

The investigation shows that the gun fired Monday is not the same gun that Jacobs had returned to him earlier this year, Stolz said Tuesday afternoon.

Stolz gave this account of the shooting: The gunman fired one round from 6 to 8 feet away at a store security guard, in uniform but not armed, who questioned him about whether he was going to buy a Sprite that he had taken from a store case and guzzled. The gunman also pointed the gun at three others nearby. None of the 20 or so employees or customers was injured. Police did not see a gun on the man and fired no shots but subdued him with a stun gun and struggled with him briefly. The man suffered minor injuries and has been released from a hospital and booked into jail. He was being held on a $100,000 bond and was being housed in the jail medical clinic. He could be charged Wednesday, Stolz said.

Stolz gave this timeline for the shooting: The 911 system received calls from multiple sources, including from inside the store, of an active shooter. The report was dispatched to multiple law enforcement radio frequencies. Police got the call at 10:32 a.m. Three minutes later, at 10:35, five veteran officers arrived virtually simultaneously, decided to enter immediately through the front door and subdued the man at 10:38 after a brief struggle in the store.

“It was a frightening and scary incident of several minutes,” Stolz said, where fortunately employees and shoppers quickly moved away from the gunman, making it easier for the entering officers to isolate him.

The man had not been in the store for long when the shooting took place near cash registers at the front of the store. When police entered, the employees and customers had moved to the south end of the store. The officers heard noises from a dressing area at the north end of the store, saw a man matching the basic description of the suspect and immediately converged on him. The officers gave him a number of verbal commands, but he didn’t comply, and one officer used a Taser on the man for “one cycle,” Stolz said. The suspect continued to fight and not heed the commands before he was arrested, and the man suffered minor injuries, Stolz said.

Once he was in custody, police removed a handgun from the man’s pocket, Stolz said.

He said that the arriving officers had to expect the worst when they entered the store. “In this particular case, the suspect and officers were lucky enough that he didn’t brandish” a gun and they were able to use a Taser. Every situation is different, and officers have to make instantaneous decisions and optimize the safety of citizens, Stolz said.

“And he’s alive today to talk about it.”

As for the officers, he said, “I can’t tell you enough how much stress there is” for them in a situation like this.

A search of the man’s vehicle and residence failed to come up with any relevant evidence, Stolz said.

“I don’t know that we know a motive yet,” Stolz said.

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