September 26, 2012
KAKE News has confirmed that a nine-year veteran Wichita police officer has been placed on extended paid leave due to "unresolved issues" regarding a recent shooting. Meanwhile, multiple law enforcement sources tell KAKE's Jared Cerullo that it's the same officer who was involved in a fatal shooting earlier this year and in a third shooting at the campus of Wichita Area Technical College in 2008.
In 2008, sources identified Officer Randy Williamson as the officer who was reportedly fired upon while working security detail at the WATC campus. Williamson did not return fire in that incident and the gunman was never captured.
On Sept. 4, an officer reported he was sitting in his patrol car near Pawnee Avenue and Meridian Street when an unknown suspect came around a building and pointed what appeared to be a long-barreled rifle or shotgun at him. The officer fired several shots that struck nearby buildings. No one was injured and a suspect was never found.
Law enforcement sources confirm the allegation that a suspect approached the officer in that parking lot is false.
"I would think that with all the publicity that has been around recent shootings, that officers would be very hesitant to shoot at an unknown target for an unknown reason," said Mike Shatz, who has been an outspoken activist for Occupy Wichita. "I'm finding the entire story to not be true."
The same officer was involved in yet another shooting earlier this year that resulted in the killing of Troy Lanning. It happened near 34th Street South and Everett Street on March 31 after Lanning led officers on a short pursuit.
At that time, Deputy Chief Tom Stolz told reporters that the officer had observed a vehicle matching the description of a burglary suspect in the area. After Lanning tried to run away, Stolz said the officer shot Lanning when Lanning raised his arm forward. An investigation later showed Lanning was unarmed.
"There is absolutely a systematic problem within the department and it may even extend farther than the department to the whole outside investigation situation that takes place after these shootings," Shatz said.
Police Chief Norman Williams declined an on-camera interview Wednesday. In a statement released by the City of Wichita Wednesday afternoon, Chief Williams said that the initial investigation of the Sept. 4th incident "revealed some concerns."
It went on to say that a criminal investigation conducted by the police department has been completed and they expect to present that case to the district attorney's office by the end of the week. An administrative investigation within the police department's professional standards bureau is also underway.