Motive A Mystery In City's Latest Homicide

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There is new information today on a deadly shooting that left a south Wichita business owner dead and another man wounded. Surveillance video from across the street captured the potential suspect and his car.

In the video from the surveillance cameras at Browns Tire, you can see the man police call the suspect pull in, get out, and go across to Perfection Auto Sales. Shortly after firing a barrage of shots into a car, the man leaves quietly.

"For somebody shooting somebody, he just casually took off," said Jeff Johnson, who works at Browns. "One of our guys tried to chase him down, but he'd already made it to the corner and took off."

Johnson was working a normal day at Browns. Several employees saw the man pull up, but they had no idea what he was about to do. Even after the crime, the man was so casual they didn't know anything was going on until a victim ran across the street. Johnson was working with his boss.

"He said he heard about five shots ring out from over there," Johnson said. "Next thing we know, we pulled that car up front and this guy's walking up to our parking lot and he's holding his arm probably about this high in the air. (He was) bleeding all the way down."

Police say 41 year-old Stephen Smallwood, the owner of Perfection Auto Sales, was killed as he sat in his car. His passenger was hit, but is expected to survive.

"Witnesses across the street at a tire store observed a single black male that had driven up approximately six minutes prior to the shooting in a white S-U-V," explained Wichita Police Lieutenant Ken Landwehr. "We believe that's an Envoy."

The G-M-C Envoy was last seen going north on Broadway and then turning east onto Macarthur. Police say the dispute was possibly over some car parts. People nearby said they heard five shots.

"We do not know the motive of the shooting," Landwehr said. "It does not appear to be a robbery. We're in the process of still working the scene to see if any evidence can be obtained."

If you have any information on the possible suspect, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously at 267-2111. Police are not releasing the name of the second victim because he is considered a material witness to the crime.

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