Crime & Courts

Off-duty Wichita police officer likely target of attack, police say

Off-duty Wichita police officer shot at

Wichita police release video of shooting at off-duty police officer at the East Warren Theatre.
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Wichita police release video of shooting at off-duty police officer at the East Warren Theatre.

A Wichita police officer working off-duty security outside the East Warren Theatre on Wednesday night appears to have been the “target of an ambush style attack” by a gunman who pulled up and fired at least four shots from an SUV, police confirmed Friday.

At about 10:45 p.m., the officer was in a security vehicle with the lights on when someone driving a dark-colored SUV pulled up behind the officer and fired four to six shots, police said. The SUV driver turned the vehicle's lights off before the shooting.

No one was injured, and the officer's vehicle wasn't hit, Deputy Police Chief Jose Salcido said, reading from a prepared statement at City Hall shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday. He answered only a few reporter questions.

The shots were fired from “fairly close” to the officer, Salcido said in answer to one question.

Wichita police didn't release information about the incident until after The Eagle inquired about the shooting hours earlier Friday. Asked why the incident wasn’t announced earlier, Salcido said the Police Department wanted to be “absolutely sure” what happened first.

“We didn’t want to cause undue alarm to the public,” he said.

The theater, at 11611 E 13th St., is near K-96. The theater sits in a busy entertainment area near a bowling alley, restaurants and a hotel.

The police statement described the SUV as a Suburban or Tahoe.

The officer was in the parking lot when the SUV driver “covertly drove onto an unpaved embankment with the vehicle headlights off,” the statement said. The gunman “positioned behind the officer’s vehicle and fires four to six shots from an unknown caliber firearm towards the officer,” it said.

The driver continued on the shoulder of K-96 and left the area.

The investigation continues, and Salcido asked anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers, (316) 267-2111.