Wichita salvage yard owner shoots at burglary suspects

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Wichita police say the owner of a salvage yard fired on two suspects who allegedly stole parts from his property Monday morning. 

The incident happened at around 8:15 a.m. at AJ's Auto Salvage at 2510 South West Street, near Pawnee. Sgt. Nikki Woodrow said two men, ages 52 and 61, contacted  911 and said they had caught two people taking salvage auto parts.

One of the suspects allegedly hit the 52-year-old man with a stick. The man then pulled his personal firearm and attempted to hold the suspects at gunpoint while the 61-year-old man called 911 for help.

"During this time, the suspects were able to get into their vehicle, which was parked on the property," Sgt. Woodrow said. "And at some point, while the suspects were driving by the property owner, the 52-year-old fired several shots toward the vehicle."

The suspects' vehicle was struck twice, but they were not hit. 

Officers arrived and quickly took the suspects into custody.

The suspects are identified through jail records as 33-year-old Jesus Ponce-Mejia and 35-year-old Jaime LaForte. Ponce-Mejia was being held for aggravated battery, aggravated burglary and failure to appear. LaForte was booked for aggravated burglary and a probation violation. 

Kansas Department of Corrections records show LaForte has a prior fourth or subsequent DUI conviction. She is currently on Community Corrections in Sedgwick County.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE