Police Chief Explains Details Of Officer Shooting

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams briefed reporters Monday regarding last Friday's deadly shooting in the Wilson Estates neighborhood, but the question remains as to why 41 year-old Robert Scharoun went on a rampage in the 8900 block of East Churchill Ct.

"There was nothing that we've been able to determine that was out of place," said Williams of Scharoun's current residence near Andover. "No notes, anything of that nature. The house was not in shambles."

Williams said the first of more than a dozen calls for help began coming into 911 at about 2:20 AM Friday. Residents were telling dispatchers they could see and hear a man outside who was arguing and firing rounds from a rifle. One caller reported that she saw Scharoun bash his car straight through the garage door of a vacant home he used to live in.

As officers arrived, Scharoun leveled his high-caliber rifle and fired one round at a newspaper carrier who was working in the area. The bullet went through her front windshield and lodged in her drivers seat headrest, just inches from hitting her.

"We had four officers witness Mr. Scharoun fire the round at Mrs. Barnum as she was working," Williams said.

As the officers took cover, they saw Scharoun inside the garage and requested the SWAT Team for an immediate response, but Scharoun came out of the garage for what would be his first encounter with the police.

"Mr. Scharoun moved to the back yard and climbed over an eight foot privacy fence into a neighbor's yard and then fired directly at the house," Williams explained.

The resident in that home ran out to her front yard and across the street for shelter as Mr. Scharoun started breaking into her home. That's when the four officers encountered Scharoun outside the house and he reportedly starting walking directly toward one officer with the rifle pointed directly at him.

The first volley of shots from officers came some 20 minutes after the original calls for help. One patrol supervisor fired numerous rounds, striking Scharoun.

"He went down momentarily, still in possession of the rifle," Chief Williams said. "However, he got back up, raised the rifle at the officers and they fired another volley of rounds at him."

This time, Scharoun did not get up. They approached him, moved the rifle away and called for an ambulance. Scharoun was pronounced dead about four hours later.

"It's split-second," Williams said of the officers decision to shoot Scharoun. "You don't have time to twiddle your thumbs because lives are at stake here."

Four officers, including a supervisor, are on administrative leave until the KBI investigation is complete.

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