Crime & Courts

Feud ends in fatal shooting at Calvary Towers

Feud turns deadly in north Wichita

A feud simmering for four years ended in gunfire Wednesday.
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A feud simmering for four years ended in gunfire Wednesday.

A feud dating back four years ended Wednesday in deadly gunfire at the same place it began, police said Thursday.

The feud flared anew Wednesday afternoon when Gilford Carter and Jimmie Earl Palmer traded words outside Calvary Towers, the apartment building at 2600 N. Grove they both call home.

“There was no physical confrontation at that time, but we do know words were exchanged,” Wichita police Lt. Todd Ojile said Thursday.

The two men returned to their apartments, but 10 to 15 minutes later Carter came back downstairs with a golf club, Ojile said. When Palmer learned what Carter had done, he goes downstairs with a gun to confront him.

Palmer brandished the gun, prompting Carter to swing his golf club, Ojile said. Palmer then fired a shot, striking Carter in the chest.

A feud simmering for four years ended in gunfire Wednesday.

Carter, 55, ran about 20 yards from the parking lot to a grassy area east of the building, where he collapsed and died, Ojile said.

Nearby officers responding to the report of gunfire at about 4:15 p.m. arrived to find Carter’s body. Palmer, 59, was taken into custody for questioning and booked into the Sedgwick County Jail early Thursday morning on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Palmer still bears the scar from the clash that began the feud, Ojile said. He was hit on the left side of his face with a golf club by Carter early on the morning of June 17, 2012, at Calvary Towers, police records show.

The resulting cut needed about 50 stitches to be closed. Carter was arrested

The deadly altercation is the latest in a long history of problems at Calvary Towers, home to low-income and older residents. Police records show that there have been more than 500 police calls to that address since the start of 2014.

Those numbers trouble Chief Gordon Ramsay. When he went on ride-alongs with officers after arriving as the new chief early this year, Calvary Towers “was one they have all pointed out” when they talked about problem areas in Wichita.

That call load is “the equivalent of a full-time police officer” at the property, Ramsay said. “We can’t continue to do business this way.”

The cases include a fatal shooting in August 2014 when several people were wounded by gunfire after a clash at a card game. Marcus Collins, 29, died two weeks after he was shot.

Collins was one of three men who became upset over money they lost while gambling early on the morning of Aug. 7 in a second-floor apartment at Calvary Towers, police said at the time.

They returned a short time later, at about 4 a.m., and forced their way inside the apartment as someone else was leaving. They demanded their money back from the two men hosting the gambling, according to a police report, then fired shots at the two hosts.

The hosts returned fire and Collins was hit in the abdomen and torso. One of the hosts was hit in the left eye and abdomen, according to a police document. Four people were injured in the shootout.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office eventually ruled the fatal shooting was in self-defense.

“There is an element in that building that has been a consistent problem for us,” Ramsay said Thursday.

The landlord has started to make attempts to work with police in improving things, he said. One step Calvary has taken is to begin hiring off-duty officers to provide security at the property.

“It’s clear that these problem properties are costing us a lot of resources and bringing down neighborhoods,” Ramsay said.

Carter is the 11th homicide of the year in Wichita, Ojile said.