Tonganoxie part of investigation in shooting death of KCK officer
KANSAS CITY, KAN. — A Tonganoxie suspect in the fatal shooting of a police detective in Kansas City, Kan., and a subsequent string of carjackings remained in the hospital Tuesday after he was shot and wounded by police during his arrest in neighboring Missouri.
Law agencies’ pursuit of the suspect also led them to Tonganoxie, causing road closures and lockdowns in Tonganoxie USD 464.
The detective, 39-year-old Brad Lancaster, was shot at least twice around 12:30 p.m. Monday near Kansas Speedway. He died three hours later after undergoing surgery, his department said in a statement.
Police said the gunman shot the detective and fled in the officer's unmarked car. He later hijacked a vehicle with two children inside before abandoning that in nearby Basehor, leaving those kids unharmed.
He then crashed another vehicle while being pursued by officers in Kansas City, Mo., and was shot by police as he attempted to hijack yet another vehicle. That female motorist, who police say was shot by the would-be carjacker, was in stable condition Tuesday at an unspecified hospital, Kansas City, Mo., police spokesman Amber Thomas-Hickerson said.
Police identified the suspect as Curtis Ayers, a 28-year-old man from Tonganoxie. He was taken into custody in Kansas City, Mo., and also was hospitalized Tuesday in stable condition, Thomas-Hickerson said.
"This individual was very dangerous. We are so happy that this individual is in custody," Kansas City, Kan., police spokesman Patrick McCallop told reporters. "We are so glad this situation has come to an end."
There was no immediate word Tuesday about charges against Ayers.
Tonganoxie Police Chief Jeff Brandau directed traffic Monday along U.S. Highway 24-40. Kansas Highway Patrol helicopters hovered over Tonganoxie looking for the suspect, while the school district was on lockdown.
Brandau said it was thought Ayers was in a house in Tonganoxie at Second Street and U.S. 24-40. Authorities entered the house, guns drawn, but he was not there, as he was found in Kansas City, Mo. Brandau said law enforcement officials also were getting a search warrant to enter an apartment just south of the house because it was thought there was evidence at the apartment that was pertinent to the case.
Brandau said his department previously had arrested Ayers on a warrant for methamphetamine possession.
Ayers served prison time in Kansas in recent years for convictions involving child abandonment, fleeing or trying to elude law enforcers and interference with a law enforcement officer, online Kansas Department of Corrections records show. Court records say he was also charged in North Carolina with offenses ranging from misdemeanor theft to possession of stolen goods and burglarizing vehicles.
In comments posted on the Kansas City, Mo., department’s website Tuesday, Police Chief Terry Zeigler expressed thanks for the prayers, messages and support for Lancaster's family and the department. He said Monday that the detective had "fought a good fight, but unfortunately he died from his injuries."
Lancaster's mother, Carolynn Lancaster, told The Kansas City Star that her son "was the rock of the family." She couldn't immediately be reached by The Associated Press for comment, and the department said in an email Monday that Lancaster's family has requested privacy.
Brad Lancaster was a U.S. Air Force veteran who had served two tours of duty overseas, including one in Kuwait, the newspaper reported. Lancaster said her son had a wife and two daughters.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt extended his prayers to Lancaster's family and the police.
"Kansas mourns the senseless death of yet another dedicated law enforcement officer in the line of duty," he said in a statement Tuesday.
— Mirror editor Shawn F. Linenberger contributed to this story.