WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – About a dozen people gathered outside Via Christi St. Francis hospital Thursday afternoon demanding answers after Sunday’s Wichita police officer-involved shooting.
Family and friends of Andrew Villa, the man shot by the officer, said hospital staff and police are giving them the run-around.
“Denied, denied, denied, that’s all it is, is denied,” said Andrew Villa’s aunt Christina Villa.
The protesters carried signs, some saying “No Weapon” and the numbers one through 14 to show how many times they claim 24-year-old Andrew Villa was shot.
“They shot 14 times is what I want to reiterate to everyone else,” said Andrew Villa’s cousin Ray Collins.
According to a Wichita Police spokesperson, a sergeant opened fire on the suspect on Sunday after he allegedly robbed a convenience store, attempted to carjack a vehicle and fled from authorities.
“Concerned for the safety of the innocent people, they could be shot or kidnapped, and the sergeant discharged his duty weapon, striking the subject multiple times,” said Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay during a news conference on Monday.
Police have not said how many times the sergeant fired or how many times the suspect was hit by gunfire.
Since the shooting, Villa has been recovering at St. Francis hospital. His family says hospital staff and police are refusing to let them see him.
“Trying to be civil about this, trying to be good-hearted, and it’s hard for them,” said Christina Villa. “That’s why we are out here being their voice for them, so they can get answers, so we can get answers.”
According to a police spokesperson, although the suspect is in the hospital he is in custody, meaning he can’t have visitors.
Via Christi released the following statement regarding the protest.
“While we cannot comment on any particular patient, we cooperate fully with the Wichita Police Department and other law enforcement agencies when we are called upon to care for a patient who also is in police custody. We always follow the direction and requirements of the Wichita Police when they limit the release of information and restrict access to patients in police custody.”