HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) – Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees provided an update into the officer-involved shooting that killed 36-year-old Joseph “Joey” Weber of Hays. Weber was undergoing treatment for mental health issues including autism, anxiety disorder, intermediate explosive disorder and mild intellectual disability.
Drees said no crime occurred because the Hays officer was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Weber, who wasn’t armed.
On Aug. 18, 2016, Drees said Hays Police Officer Sgt. Brandon Hauptman attempted to stop a vehicle driven by Weber for improper tag display and an expired decal.
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Drees said the investigation showed that Weber failed to stop for Sgt. Hauptman. Weber stopped his vehicle in alley but refused to obey the law or commands of Sgt. Hauptman. Hauptman was attempting to arrest Weber for eluding a police officer. Additional law enforcement responded to the scene, and Weber again drove away.
“He was pursued by three law enforcement vehicles. He eluded the officer for several minutes and stopped in the 2300 block of Timber Drive,” said Drees.
Drees said Weber got out of the vehicle, and he refused to follow the commands of Sgt. Hauptman. He ordered Weber to the ground at gunpoint.
“Weber fled on foot from Sgt. Hauptman towards a residence. Sgt. Hauptman gave chase and attempted to force Weber to the ground,” Drees said.
Weber fell on the sidewalk, and Sgt. Hauptman fell on top of him. Drees said Weber tried to wrestle the gun away from Sgt. Hauptman.
“Sgt. Hauptman fearing for his life, pushed the barrel of the gun into the chest of Weber and fired one shot. Weber died from the gunshot wound,” said Drees. “Sgt. Hauptman reasonally believed that shooting Weber was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself.”
Drees said no crime occurred because Sgt. Hauptman was acting in self-defense. Drees said there is video of the shooting, but the parents have asked that it not be released because they don’t want their son to be remembered that way. Officials said Sgt. Hauptman had no knowledge of Joseph’s illnesses or autism.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, and the Coroner of the 23rd Juicial District, Dr. Lyle Noordhoek assisted in the investigation.
The Hays Police Department said Sgt. Brandon Hauptman will remain on administrative leave until the professional standards investigation is completed. The professional standards investigation is to determine if the officer was in compliance with the policies and procedures of the Hays Police Department.
Sgt. Brandon Hauptman is a graduate of Hays High School and Fort Hays State University. He started his law enforcement career with the Hays Police Department in 2007 and attended all required training for law enforcement officers in Kansas, including the police academy at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. Sgt. Hauptman was promoted to Patrol Corporal in 2014, and then to Patrol Sergeant in 2015. He is a Supervisor and a Police Instructor for the Hays Police Department.
The Ellis County Attorney and Ellis County Law Enforcement said they express their condolences to John and Nancy Weber for the loss of their son Joey.