Crime & Courts

Wichita police: Man shot, killed by officer was ‘belligerent,’ reaching for his waistband

John Paul Quintero, 23, was shot by police outside this home on North Oliver after a disturbance was reported to 911 operators.
John Paul Quintero, 23, was shot by police outside this home on North Oliver after a disturbance was reported to 911 operators. The Wichita Eagle

By Sunday afternoon, there was little left outside the white house in the 500 block of North Oliver that would suggest a man was shot there by police the night before.

A scrap of crime scene tape on the meter.

A rubber glove on the sidewalk, possibly from emergency medical services workers.

A couple of traffic cones on the curb.

There aren’t many neighbors around. The house next door looks vacant, with its windows boarded up. Another house has a sign in the window that says, “No solicitations. No comment.”

It’s a few days into the new year, and a Christmas wreath with an ornament of Mother Mary and infant Jesus hangs on the front door of the house where John Paul Quintero died outside.

Across the street, neighbor Tommy Bryant says he was home Saturday night when he heard gunshots.

“It was like ‘pow-pow.’ ”

The shots prompted him to go outside and check it out. He just moved in a few months ago and didn’t know anyone lived in the house across the street.

He saw the police car down the street and two officers standing over Quintero. He saw the blood.

“It was quite a bit,” he said.

Quintero, 23, was “belligerent” and reaching for his waistband when he was shot twice by a police officer Saturday evening, Wichita police say.

He later died at Wesley Medical Center.

Impending investigation

The shooting comes at a time of increased public scrutiny over shootings involving police.

“We are committed to an open and honest investigation,” Interim Chief Nelson Mosley said at a police briefing early Sunday afternoon.

At 6:43 p.m. Saturday, 911 operators received a call of a disturbance involving a knife at the address on North Oliver, Mosley said.

Two officers arrived in the area at 6:51 p.m., parking down the street and walking to the residence.

With officers on the way, dispatchers received at least three more calls stating the suspect was under the influence of alcohol and armed with a knife, Mosley said. At the scene, two officers approached an SUV parked in the driveway of the house.

Officers approached Quintero, who was on the passenger side of the SUV, and his 44-year-old father, who was on the driver’s side.

Quintero’s father got out of the vehicle and was compliant, Mosley said.

“However, the 23-year-old was belligerent and confrontational toward the officers and refused commands from Officer B,” Mosley said. “The suspect approached Officer B, and Officer B backed away from the suspect due to him not complying with verbal commands. The suspect walked toward the back of the SUV, at which time Officer A hears the verbal confrontation and moves to a position to assist Officer B at the rear of the SUV.”

Officer A started giving commands to Quintero to show his hands, and police say that’s when he verbally threatened the officers.

At that point, Officer A gave additional commands for Quintero put his hands on the SUV, and then used a Taser on Quintero after he did not comply, Mosley said.

But there was no effect from the Taser, and Quintero stepped toward Officer A, Mosley said. Around that time, officers asked for more backup.

Officer B saw Quintero reach toward his waistband, and she then fired two shots from her patrol rifle, hitting Quintero twice in the middle of his body, Mosley said.

Mosley could not provide details about the verbal altercation between Quintero and the officers.

After the shooting, EMS personnel transferred Quintero to Wesley Medical Center. He was taken into surgery but died a few hours later.

Quintero reportedly had been involved in an argument that turned physical prior to the police arriving, Mosley said. He allegedly “was armed with a knife and began threatening to kill individuals in the residence.”

At one point, Quintero allegedly put a knife to a 21-year-old woman’s throat, and one witness told police he had assaulted his father with the knife before the two men went to the SUV, Mosley said.

The Quintero family could not be reached for comment.

Police have not located any weapon that may have been used by Quintero.

Body cameras

In November, the department announced it was adding 450 body cameras to the 60 already deployed, making it one of the largest cities in the country to outfit every officer with a camera. The department plans to have the cameras fully implemented by the end of 2015 at an estimated cost of $1.5 million.

Lt. James Espinoza, a police spokesman, would not say whether the officers involved in the shooting were wearing body cameras.

The names of the officers involved in the shooting are not being released. The officers have been with the police department for four years and nine months and three years and one month, Mosley said. They are both on paid leave.

The police will cooperate with all investigative agencies, including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, Mosley said.

Snow – and now ice – may cause the investigation to take longer.

“This is an ongoing investigation. We’re still out there on the scene processing. We had the snow, we’re dealing with the elements, trying to locate evidence, anything of that nature,” Mosley said. “You’ve got to realize this is still less than 24 hours and real early in the investigation.”

The police will ultimately present their case to the district attorney’s office, Mosley said.

“Our thoughts go out to the family of Mr. Quintero and the officers and their families who were involved in this incident,” Mosley said.

‘He had his hands up’

Dustin Deckard was on his way home from work when he saw the female police officer with her rifle aimed at Quintero. Deckard lives a few blocks away from where the shooting took place.

“It was very eerie, because the shooting must have occurred seconds after,” he said. “When I passed, I slowed down, so I only got a couple seconds of a view.

“I saw the passenger; it was clearly a younger man in his early 20s of Hispanic descent, and he was wearing a blue jersey and he had his hands up. He was behind the SUV, and the female officer was mostly directly in front of him, a little bit to his left. Both the officers were on either side of him, but he was facing the female officer who had her rifle up, and she was looking down the sight.”

Deckard was not sure whether police had already used the Taser on Quintero at that point and did not see Quintero’s father.

“I wasn’t looking for him just because of the gun being out,” he said.

Deckard saw several more police vehicles approach the scene after he drove away, he said.

Already by Sunday afternoon, things were looking normal in the neighborhood, Bryant said.

But looks can be deceiving.

“There’s so much going on right now with the police and the community. These young kids. Some of them just don’t understand how the police work.”

There’s also room for police to have more training, he said.

“I’m sorry (the) victim passed away, sorry for the man’s family. A loss in the new year. That life’s gone forever. It’s about education. Maybe on both sides.”

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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