Crime & Courts

Sheriff’s deputy shot man who first shot toward Wichita police officers, detective says

Sheriff Jeff Easter explains why deputy shot man near DCF building

Richard J. Gore, 60, of Wichita appeared to be intoxicated and was waving around and firing a handgun in a field near the Department for Children and Families building near Pawnee and Oliver when a witness called police at 2:57 p.m. Tuesday.
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Richard J. Gore, 60, of Wichita appeared to be intoxicated and was waving around and firing a handgun in a field near the Department for Children and Families building near Pawnee and Oliver when a witness called police at 2:57 p.m. Tuesday.

A man who was shot by a sheriff’s deputy near the Kansas Department for Children and Families building in south Wichita about two months ago had first fired his gun toward police officers, court documents allege.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said after the Nov. 27 shooting that Richard J. Gore appeared to be intoxicated and was “waving around and firing” a handgun before he was shot in his upper shoulder area by a deputy. Gore, 63, of Wichita, survived and was charged with aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and other crimes.

Gore first “fired in the direction” of three Wichita police officers and an Eastborough officer before a sheriff’s sergeant “decided to neutralize the threat of the gunfire,” a sheriff’s detective alleged in a court document. The sergeant shot at Gore once with his rifle, but the detective did not say whether the bullet hit Gore or not.

Gore then turned toward the sergeant with the gun in his raised hand, the detective wrote in a probable cause affidavit. The sergeant, “fearing now for his safety and the safety of the other law enforcement officer,” then shot at Gore a second time, and the bullet hit him.

A probable cause affidavit is a legal document outlining the justification for arresting and charging a suspect.

After Gore was shot, he was arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment before he was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail. He has been charged with aggravated criminal threat, criminal discharge of a firearm and five counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer.

He remains jailed in lieu of a $100,000 bond. The results of a competency exam are pending, Sedgwick County District Court records show.

Law enforcement officers were first called at around 3 p.m. Nov. 27 to the area of the DCF building near Pawnee and Oliver. A Wichita police officer who was working off-duty at DCF called Sedgwick County Dispatch about hearing gunshots in the area at around the same time someone reported a man shooting at the DCF building, the detective wrote in the affidavit.

More than 300 people were in the DCF building, which was locked down during the incident.

The sheriff’s sergeant was about 175 yards from Gore when he arrived at the scene, and he saw Gore fire a handgun in the direction of the DCF building, the affidavit states. Then Gore pointed the gun in the direction of the police officers and continued to shoot before he was shot by the sergeant.

The detective wrote in the affidavit that law enforcement officials believed Gore shot at the DCF building, but investigators couldn’t find any evidence indicating any bullets actually struck the building. They recovered 19 40-caliber shell casings in the area from which Gore was shooting and found evidence of at least seven bullet strikes to a pole.

Easter has said Gore also fired shots toward traffic on George Washington Boulevard after he ignored a police lieutenant’s order to drop the gun. Gore was prepared to fire more rounds, the sheriff said.

The deputy who shot Gore was placed on administrative leave, Easter said, and he was to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before returning to work.

“I have no question on this particular use of force, so if he’s ready to be returned to duty, he will return to duty,” Easter said the day after the officer-involved shooting.

Lt. Chris Halloran, the Rangemaster in the Wichita police Training Bureau, told the Citizen Review Board that police shoot to eliminate the threat, not to kill, and Hollywood movies "make it look glamorous to shoot bad guys."

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