Murder suspect, officer injured in downtown Topeka shootout

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man suspected of murder and a police officer were injured during a mid-morning shootout Thursday in downtown Topeka after the suspect led officers on a chase through Kansas’ capital city, firing at them as he drove.

Topeka police had sought the suspect over the Thursday morning shooting of two people at a south Topeka home, one of whom died, Chief Bryan Wheeles said. The suspect was hospitalized and in critical condition, under guard and in custody.

The other shooting victim was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, and a woman riding with the suspect also was hospitalized, but her injuries were not considered life-threatening. The officer was treated at a hospital and released. His injuries were not more serious because the shot hit his protective vest, Wheeles said.

The chase ended in a block of office buildings, about two blocks north and one block east of the Kansas Statehouse.

“This could have been a lot higher count as far as casualties and even fatalities,” Wheeles told reporters during a news conference near where the chase ended.

Police said the suspect’s relationship with the person shot to death in south Topeka was “domestic in nature” but did not elaborate. The suspect fled after a police officer spotted his car, and the chase lasted about 4 miles.

Police didn’t name the suspect, his passenger, the two shooting victims or the injured officer. Details about the double-shooting, the chase and the downtown shootout weren’t immediately released as the Kansas Bureau of Investigation reviewed what happened at the request of local law enforcement agencies.

It also wasn’t clear how many officers fired their weapons, though Wheeles said nine Topeka police officers and one local sheriff’s officer were on paid leave.

“This was a large scale, chaotic incident,” Wheeles said.

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