WICHITA, Kansas – Wichita police on Saturday held a news conference where they released photos of Friday night’s officer-involved shooting of a 17-year-old West High student that happened during a traffic stop.
During the incident, the teen was shot by a Wichita police officer when they say he ran towards an entrance to the school with a gun in his hand while a girl’s basketball game was being played inside.
Acting Chief Nelson Mosley said the incident began around 6;30 p.m. when officers pulled over a red Ford F-15 pickup truck with four males inside. During the stop, Mosley said the teen got out of the truck with a gun in his hand.
Mosley said officers chased the suspect and commanded him several times to drop the weapon which he did not do. He said when the suspect was approaching an entrance to the school, an officer following the teen fired several shots striking him in the lower back and in one of his wrists. Mosley said the shot to the wrist also hit the suspect’s gun, damaging it.
As the teen was running toward the school, he also was running toward other officers who had come into the parking lot from another direction.
Following the shooting the suspect was taken to VIa Christi St. Francis Hospital with critical injuries. He remains in critical but stable condition, Mosley said.
West High School was locked down for a short time, but the game was allowed to continue. No one else was injured.
Mosley said the truck was stopped as part of an investigation into the double homicide that occurred Tuesday in the 2500 block of E. Mossman. He said, though, those in the truck were not connected to that investigation.
Police say the truck was occupied by four males. The three who remained in the vehicle were taken to police headquarters where they were interviewed and later released.
Two people were arrested Friday night in connection with that homicide and were booked into the Sedgwick County jail.
During the media briefing at the scene of the shooting, Deputy Chief of Investigations Hassan Ramzah said, “Officers pursued the individual on foot. As that suspect ran toward West High School, officers continued to give verbal commands for that individual to drop the weapon,” said Ramzah. “At some point during that pursuit, the suspect attempted to run towards the south side doors of the school and one of the officers here on scene fired rounds at the suspect and that suspect was hit.”
During Saturday’s briefing, Mosley showed a photo from the body camera of one of the officers pursuing the suspect that showed him running and with what appeared to be a weapon in his hand.
“The individual was running at the officers with the gun in his hand, we’re still asking the questions in getting to whether it was pointed,” said Mosley.
Other photos showed the pistol and a part broken off of it when it was hit by the officer’s bullet on the ground near the school’s entrance.
A third photo showed a sliver-colored weapon with damage beneath its barrel.
According to Mosley, police are investigating why the teen ran from officers.
Mosley said the case has been turned over to the district attorney’s office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. He said the release of the body camera video will be left up to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office.
The officer who fired the shots at the suspect is on administrative lead per departmental policy. Mosley said he is a 20-year veteran of the department.
Mosley said the 17-year-old victim is a documented gang member.