NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – The man killed in the officer-involved shooting in McPherson County late Monday night has been identified as 24-year-old William Matthew Holmes of Newton.
According to Lieutenant Bryan Hall with the Newton Police Department, Holmes was driving during the high-speed pursuit and Kenneth Carl Herrod, 22, of Newton, was a passenger in the vehicle.
Holmes and Herrod refused to exit their vehicle when it came to a stop near mile marker 51 along I-135. Police officers urged Holmes and Herrod to exit the vehicle. Authorities said when Holmes did exit he was very aggressive and took an aggressive stance and began taunting the officers.
Officers gathered less-lethal weapons while Holmes continued to taunt the officers. Officers deployed a bean bag gun and a taser, neither one of them were successful. Authorities said a K-9 was then deployed and as the K-9 approached, Holmes kicked at the K-9’s head, forcing the K-9 to withdraw.
According to Lt. Hall, one of the officers saw what he thought was the K-9 being hurt and rushed to physically detain the driver. A struggle began and the officer felt Holmes reach for his holster. A McPherson County deputy fired a shot at Holmes, hitting him in the torso.
Holmes was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“This is a terrible event for our community, a member of our community is no longer with us and this is going to have long-lasting effects, there are friends and family members of this individual who are hurting and our hearts go out to them,” said Lt. Bryan Hall, Newton Police Department.
Herrod was arrested for burglary, theft and felony obstruction.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.
Family and friends are asking tonight whether or not police needed to use lethal force.
“You (police)expend all these bean bags, tasers. mean you’ve got pepper spray and a K-9 dog, you’ve got how many (police) units after a high speed chase?” asks Elijah Kuhns, a long-time friend of Holmes. “And you’re telling me that one unarmed man can overpower all these things, and it leads to him dying?”
Kuhns says his friend also suffered from some mental health issues, something Holmes mother also told KSN.
The McPherson County Sheriff’s Department says the officer who fired a shot is on paid, administrative leave. That officer is also being offered counseling.