Crime & Courts

Wichita man to serve 23 years in prison for shooting at police, burglaries

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)

A Wichita man who opened fire on police during a chase in 2017 will spend more than 23 years in prison, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Elijah K. Martinez, 22, pleaded no contest on May 15 to attempted second-degree murder, several counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and other crimes stemming from a Dec. 27, 2017, crime spree, court records show. That day, Martinez and his girlfriend stole a car from an east Wichita QuikTrip and then stole mail from some homes in the 1500 block of North Caddy, near 13th and Maize.

Police caught up to the couple at a business near Central and I-235 after a homeowner called 911 about the stolen mail. When Martinez saw officers, he pulled a gun and opened fire, then took off in another stolen truck, according to The Eagle’s news archives.

Police returned gunfire twice, striking Martinez’s jaw and the back of his head. Even after he was wounded, Martinez continued to flee at speeds reaching 80 to 100 mph. The chase ended in the Family Video store parking lot at Maple and Maize.

Although Martinez’s defense attorney asked for leniency, arguing in a written motion that Martinez had a troubled youth devoid of “any role models to help him form positive characteristics,” Sedgwick County District Judge Bruce Brown ordered him to serve 281 months in prison.

Most of that time — 247 months — is for the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer charge, the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. The sentence also includes prison time for a series of home burglaries Martinez and two other men carried out east Wichita’s College Hill neighborhood shortly before the shooting case and more than $31,000 in restitution for property losses, the DA’s office said.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.
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