Crime & Courts

Suspect, victims identified in Harvey County triple shooting

David Lee Montano was named as the suspect in the triple shooting in rural Harvey County on Thursday. (Feb. 23, 2017)
David Lee Montano was named as the suspect in the triple shooting in rural Harvey County on Thursday. (Feb. 23, 2017) Courtesy photo

Two of the men killed in an early morning shooting Thursday near Newton were brothers, authorities said during a news conference.

Harvey County Attorney David Yoder identified the suspect, who was killed by law enforcement officers, and the three victims involved in the shooting.

David Yoder, county attorney for Harvey County names David Lee Montano as the suspect in the triple shooting in rural Harvey County on February 23, 2017. Montano was fatally killed by a police officer.

David Lee Montano, 33, was fatally shot by police after officers responded to a home in rural Harvey County, northeast of Newton, at about 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, Yoder said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

The three victims were Michael Lemons, Nelton Lemons and Jason Stubby, Yoder said. Each was killed with a single shot and were pronounced dead at the scene, he said.

Michael and Nelton Lemons were brothers, Yoder said. When asked at Thursday’s news conference, Yoder would not say whether a child was present in the home at the time of the shootings.

Law enforcement officers from the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office and the Newton Police Department responded to a call of a possible shooting at a rural Harvey County home in the 2100 block of North Spencer.

“When we arrived, we started clearing the residence,” said Harvey County Sheriff Chad Gay. “We found three dead inside, and as officers were going through that process … the potential suspect confronted the officers with a shotgun, and one of the officers shot the suspect.”

The armed man was in the back of the house at the time. He did not fire the gun, Gay said.

He had a shotgun on him and wasn’t listening to their demands.

Harvey County Sheriff Chad Gay

“He had a shotgun on him and wasn’t listening to their demands,” he said.

The man was transported to Newton Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 3:04 a.m., the Newton Police Department said in a Facebook post.

The officer who shot the suspect works for the Newton Police Department. No law enforcement officers were hurt.

Officers from the North Newton and Hesston police departments were also at the scene during the night, Gay said.

Authorities have not yet said what the relationship is between Montano and those who were killed. Gay also said it wasn’t immediately clear who was living at the house.

In addition to the three bodies and the suspect, law enforcement found three other people in the home when they arrived. They were questioned in Newton on Thursday morning, Gay said.

A fourth person – also thought to be a witness to the shooting but who was not at the house when authorities arrived – was initially sought by authorities but was later found, according to a post on the Newton Police Department’s Facebook page at 6:40 a.m.

Gay, in an early morning news conference, said Montano was known to local law enforcement – mostly to Newton police – but did not elaborate.

The house where the shooting happened is just east of I-135. It was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape Thursday morning.

Gay said Thursday morning that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation has been called in to help investigate the triple killing and will take over the investigation into the officer’s fatal shooting of the suspect.

“A situation like this typically takes a lot of resources, and typically departments like our size, we don’t have those types of resources, so we contact the KBI” to help, he said.

We’re a day away, maybe two days away from having this investigation completely done.

Harvey County Sheriff Chad Gay

He also said he thought authorities were “a day away, maybe two days away, from having this investigation completely done.”

The killings are the third triple homicides in Harvey County over the past year. The other two are the Feb. 25 shootings at Excel Industries in Hesston and the Oct. 30 slayings of a couple and one of their friends at a farmhouse near Moundridge.

The shooter in the Excel killings was fatally shot by Hesston’s police chief during his rampage.

Two people are facing murder charges in the farmhouse slayings.

Survivors, victims' families and law enforcement tell of the deadly mass shooting at Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas on Feb. 25, 2016. Video by John Albert/The Wichita Eagle

Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton briefed local media on one woman and two men found dead on a rural county driveway west of Hesston. (Video by Beccy Tanner / The Wichita Eagle / Oct. 30, 2016)