A Wichita police officer shot a man who was driving toward him north of downtown Wichita, police say.
It started around 1 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the Sedgwick County probation office. A 29-year-old white male and a passenger pulled into the parking lot, where Wichita police and U.S. marshals were waiting.
They were there to pick up the 29-year-old man on a felony warrant for aggravated assault. He was known to be armed, police said.
When police started shouting commands at him, he put his small red car in reverse and crashed into a U.S. marshals’ Dodge Durango, which had apparently pulled in behind him.
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The man then drove forward, hitting a sign and pillar and then smashing into a building across the street.
Between the time he hit the Durango and crashed into the building, police say he drove at a Wichita police officer, who opened fire.
A wrecked red Ford Focus appeared to be the car the man had been driving. The front end of the car was embedded in the side of a building at 906 N. Main on Thursday afternoon.
The man driving toward the Wichita officer “put the officer in a bad position,” said Deputy Chief Troy Livingston, of the Wichita Police Department.
“The officer had either gotten pinned or was about to be pinned by that vehicle, so they opened fire,” Livingston said.
The 29-year-old was taken to the hospital in serious condition with multiple injuries, police said. Initial reports by emergency dispatchers said he had been shot in the head.
Livingston said the officer had blood on his arm after the incident. He was not available to answer questions immediately after the shooting.
“He was in fair condition,” Livingston said. “He was shaken up, though.”
The passenger in the vehicle was taken in for questioning, police said.
Police found a gun in the car, Livingston said.
Investigators from multiple agencies are trying to piece together what happened, Livingston said, and who else might have fired shots besides the Wichita police officer, a 13-year veteran of the department.
“There’s multiple agencies involved, so we’re trying to get everyone down to the City Building to determine who fired and who was standing where,” Livingston said.
Witnesses reported hearing several shots.
James Adams, a security officer who works on North Main just north of where the shooting happened, said he heard six to seven gun shots.
“It was so close I was ducking,” he said.
He jumped in his truck and drove south on Main and could see a small red car had crashed into a wall. He saw a man on the ground by the front tire. A woman was trying to pull him up.
“But he wasn’t getting up,” Adams said.
Christina Martinez, who was walking her dog just north of the area at the time of the shooting, said she thought she heard the gunshots come in close succession, “boom, boom, boom, boom. “
Then she heard what she thought was an officer yelling, “Freeze” and what she thought was a vehicle crashing.
Everything happened pretty fast, she said, so she may be wrong about when the officer yelled “Freeze.”