WPD officer on administrative leave following weekend shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police said in a media release that an officer has been placed on administrative leave following a weekend shooting that left a 9-year-old girl injured.

The attorney for the family has a lot of questions.

“My understanding was the mother and the wife became concerned because her husband was suicidal,” said attorney Charlie O’Hara. “And she was concerned because she had four young children, the oldest being 10, inside the home. She called the police to de-escalate the situation.”

O’Hara said he believes things escalated.

At approximately 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, police said they responded to a domestic dispute and a suicidal person with a gun in the 1500 block of North Gentry. Officers received information that a man inside had a gun.

The official police response said that while officers were inside the home, they retrieved a gun from under a bedroom pillow. While the officers were retrieving the gun, a mid-sized dog charged at an officer. The officer pulled his gun and shot at the dog. The officer missed the dog. The shot struck the floor and broke into fragments. One of the fragments ricocheted and struck a 9-year-old girl in the forehead just above her eye. She was treated and released from the hospital.

O’Hara said there are many questions after the mother talked about the situation.

“They went outside and the husband and the wife stayed outside until the police arrived. Two police officers arrived, talked to both of them, made sure there weren’t any guns on them. And for some reason that we’re not quite sure yet, one of the policemen goes inside in a small living room. Evidently, the front door goes right into the living room, and there’s four children, the oldest being ten there, and he goes in to retrieve evidently or to do something with the gun or something about a gun. And while he’s in there a small dog maybe 14-inches tall supposedly starts barking and the officer discharges his weapon, twice. And the bullet fragments hit the 9-year-old girl above her eye.”

O’Hara said the girl was put in an ambulance and also said the mom was put in a patrol car to follow the ambulance.

Police said the man was taken for a mental health exam.

Police said the officer who fired the shot was placed on leave. The case will be reviewed by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office. Police said an internal review of the shooting will be conducted.

O’Hara said he wants to see police body camera footage of the entire incident.

“When we call the police to a situation, we don’t want it to get worse. They’re there to get the situation calmed down,” said O’Hara. “I don’t have all the facts, and I can only see from what I’ve seen, but it seems to me when the police are called to an incident, the incident should de-escalate, not escalate. The police are here to protect us.”

KSN has asked the county for the 911 audio tapes of the incident. The request was denied, citing an ongoing investigation.


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