Friends Say Local Businessman Is Man Killed In Police Shooting

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Surprising details are emerging about the man who was shot and killed by police in a Northeast Wichita neighborhood Friday morning. A local businessman, friends and co-workers say Robert Scharoun was going through a divorce and a child custody battle.

A family friend who answered the door at Scharoun's current Northeast Wichita home confirmed that Scharoun was the man shot and killed by police. However, exactly why he went to his former residence and opened fire on neighbors, the newspaper carrier and police remains a mystery to everyone.

Scharoun opened fire in the 8900 block of East Churchill Ct. early Friday. Police don't yet know why Scharoun went to the house. Neighbors say Scharoun used to live there, but that was more than a year ago. Those neighbors are the ones who called police just after 2:30 in the morning when Scharoun drove through the garage door, opened fire on the newspaper carrier, and then jumped the fence and fired at several nearby homes.

"The officers have a rifle pointed at them," explained Wichita Police Lt. Todd Ojile. "They do not know this individuals mindset. They believe that they are in fear for their lives."

Officers say Scharoun's gun was a high-caliber rifle. At least two officers fired back, striking Scharoun and critically wounding him. He died a few hours later at a hospital.

"It's been a very safe and quiet neighborhood and I was shocked to learn that something like that would happen here," said one resident who lived nearby.

Scharoun reportedly bought a Value Place Hotel franchise in Tulsa in 2005 from Wichita developer Jack DeBoer. DeBoer founded Value Place in Wichita and has since expanded to 28 other states. DeBoer reports the business was doing very well, but other people who have spoken to us on a condition of anonymity say Scharoun was going through a divorce and child custody battle, which may have been what led him to open fire early Friday.

At least two of the officers involved in Friday's incident have now been placed on administrative leave per the department's protocol. Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams is expected to address reporters at Monday morning's daily briefing.

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