Police release details in west Wichita chase, officer-involved shooting

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Police chase ends in parking lot of Family Video at Maple and Maize in west Wichita Police chase ends in parking lot of Family Video at Maple and Maize in west Wichita
Shots fired and chase begins in the 700 block of North Gilda Shots fired and chase begins in the 700 block of North Gilda

Wichita police have released more details in the pursuit and officer-involved shooting of a suspect on the city's west side.

Elijah Martinez, 21, remains hospitalized under guard following Wednesday morning's ordeal. Lt. Todd Ojile and Deputy Chief Troy Livingston discussed Thursday morning how it unfolded. 

Shortly before 10 a.m., 911 received a call from a man who was following people in a vehicle who were stealing mail from a mailbox in 1500 block of North Caddy, near 13th and Maize Road. The man following the suspects gave dispatchers a car description and tag number. Lt. Ojile said the suspect vehicle had been stolen approximately four hours early from a QuikTrip on the east side of town. 

The suspects then got onto southbound I-235 from 13th, exited at Central and proceeded to the 700 block of North Gilda. 

"The suspects will then pull into a business there in the 700 block of Gilda, where a female will run into one of the businesses," Lt. Ojile said. "The male will eventually enter into that business."

The business owner exited the business and told an arriving officer that the suspects were inside. The officer went into the business and was confronted by Martinez who was pointing a gun at the officer, Ojile said. The officer exited a hallway and looked for cover as Martinez began shooting. The officer then got out of the business and began looking for cover in the parking lot.

Man shot after allegedly firing at Wichita officers during pursuit

"The 21-year-old suspect will then exit out of the business. He will then fire additional shots in the parking lot at the officers and incoming officers."

Martinez then allegedly got into the truck belonging to the witness who followed the suspects to the business. The suspect sped off.

Witness who led police to wanted man recalls the ordeal

"My gut instinct told me, 'Don't get out of your truck, go near him, because he's probably going to shoot you or take you hostage,'" the witness said said.

Ojile said the suspect drove directly at an officer at Elm and Gilda. 

"This officer, fearing for his life due to shots being fired by the suspect, will fire numerous rounds at the truck, which goes westbound on Elm, driving through several yards, hitting a fence and coming to a stop for a short period of time."

Ojile said the suspect put the truck in reverse and proceeded to drive at a police supervisor who was behind the pickup. The supervisor fired once at the truck, which continued west on Elm.

The suspect then headed east on Central, firing on officers as they approached from the west. One round struck a building. 

The chase continued "throughout a large part of the west side." As the suspect was heading west on Maple, a WPD supervisor deployed stop sticks, puncturing two of the truck's tires. 

"But as he deploys the stop sticks, the suspect vehicle, which was driving at a high rate of speed, will swerve at the supervisor, causing the supervisor to be in fear that he is going to be struck by the vehicle."

The pursuit reached speeds of 80 to 100 mph before Martinez allegedly pulled into the Family Video parking lot at Maple and Maize Road, lost control and crashed.

A K-9 was deployed to assist in taking Martinez into custody. He suffered one gunshot wound to the face and was hospitalized in stable condition. Ojile said he would be booked into jail Thursday or Friday. He did not speak about possible charges.

About 20 minutes passed between the time of the first 911 call to when Martinez was taken into custody. He was wanted on outstanding warrants.

The woman who was will Martinez, identified by jail records at 22-year-old Karina Thomas, was booked for five counts of theft, a probation violation and failure to comply.

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