NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – Friends and family of a Newton man shot and killed by law enforcement are distraught and searching for answers.
“He’s just good at making people laugh. He was a good friend,” said Macole Slaton.
Macole Slaton, 24, said she met William “Matt” Holmes when the two were in 7th grade.
“He was supposed to be my life-long friend and he still will be,” Slaton said.
Slaton said she learned about Holmes’s death early Tuesday morning.
“I was driving my sister to school and got a call from my other sister and we both just started crying,” she said.
Newton police said a McPherson County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Holmes, 24, late Monday night after they said Holmes burglarized a car, led officers on a chase, struggled with a deputy and at one point, attempted to grab the deputy’s gun.
“They deployed the bean bag and the Taser, neither one of them were successful. The officers deployed a K9 and as the K9 approached, the driver kicked at the K9’s head and the K9 withdrew. One of the officers saw what he thought was the K9 being injured and he rushed in to physically restrain the driver. This struggle ensued where they fell to the ground, the driver partially on top of the officer. The officer immediately felt the man pulling at the gun in his holster,” said Newton Police Lt. Brian Hall.
Newton police said the McPherson County sheriff’s deputy who opened fire is on paid administrative leave while the KBI investigates the incident.
Family of Holmes told KSN he suffered from mental health issues and may have been off of his medication. However, they believe there could have been another way to subdue him.
“They took a life. Everybody’s lives matter,” said one of Holmes’s friends.
According to Harvey County court records, Holmes was arrested for theft, aggravated battery and criminal threat in the past.