A 31-year-old man was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail late Tuesday night on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and other crimes after a Wichita police officer was run over and gravely injured in south Wichita earlier in the day.
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The injured officer, a 25-year veteran of the force, was in critical condition late Tuesday night. He was struck near the intersection of Topeka and Kinkaid shortly after 1 p.m., officials said. He was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, where he underwent surgery.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family,” Deputy Chief Jose Salcido said at a news briefing late Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.
The injured officer was investigating a stolen vehicle and a suspect who had active felony warrants in the 2100 block of South Topeka when the incident unfolded. After the officer was struck, a second officer fired a shot at the fleeing vehicle, Salcido said.
It was unclear on Tuesday afternoon what the bullet may have struck, police said.
The suspect parked in the 600 block of East Pawnee and fled into a business, Salcido said. He was apprehended by a police dog and his handler, with the assistance of employees inside the business.
In a statement released on social media late Tuesday night, Sgt. Nikki Woodrow said the suspect has an “extensive criminal background” and that more information would be released on Wednesday morning.
Doug Briant, who works at Continental Batteries, a business behind the metal building where the suspect was caught, said he saw a police car with lights and sirens, which drew his attention. He looked behind the metal building and saw officers with guns drawn “and more officers coming.”
He saw three men running from the metal building and pointing back toward the building as if to direct the officers into or toward the building.
A black SUV was parked behind the building, along with several police cars.
Two residents of the neighborhood where the incident started Tuesday afternoon said they heard a pop and then the sound of engines revving.
W.A. Stofer said he and his son, William Stofer, walked out of their house on South Topeka and “saw the blur of the chase.”
He said two Wichita police vehicles were chasing what appeared to be a truck or an SUV.
His son said, “You could smell the gun smoke in the air.”
He said he could see the injured male officer lying in the street. A female officer with him was waving other officers down.
Another neighbor, Neal Calvin, said he saw about six officers “bunched over” the injured officer before the officer was taken away by an ambulance.
Coda Gibbs, another resident in the neighborhood on South Topeka, said, “I just heard the big boom.”
About 10 seconds after hearing the noise, Gibbs said, he came out to his front porch to see what was happening. He said he saw a woman outside a PT Cruiser at a corner stop sign screaming, “Oh, my God!”
Gibbs said he saw officers gathered around the injured officer in the street.
“I heard them tell him, ‘Just hang in there, hang in there,’ ” Gibbs said.
Contributing: Katherine Burgess and Amy Leiker of The Eagle
How to help injured officer
In lieu of flowers and cards, the family of the Wichita police officer hurt on Tuesday has requested that donations be sent to The Honore Adversis Foundation on his behalf.
The Honore Adversis Foundation
477 N. Seneca
Wichita, KS 67203
Source: Wichita Police Department