Published December 17, 2012
Authorities say a man suspected in the fatal shooting of two Topeka police officers has died after an armed standoff with law enforcement at a house in the city.
The man is suspected of killing 50-year-old Cpl. David Gogian and 29-year-old Jeff Atherly as they responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle Sunday night.
Shawnee County officials say in a statement that Kansas Bureau of Investigation officers tried to negotiate with the suspect before firing tear gas into the home.
The statement says he emerged from the home carrying a gun and officers shot him. He was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries early Monday.
It wasn't clear if the suspect fired his gun.
Early Monday, law enforcement officers surrounded a house in Topeka in an almost two-hour standoff during which shots were fired. Officers eventually removed a man whom KMBC-TV described as the suspect in the shooting. The Associated Press left a message with Topeka police seeking comment.
Miller didn't know the motive for the shooting but said the suspect has a criminal history, though he wouldn't elaborate.
A third officer who went to the scene to check on the vehicle was not injured in the shooting.
Gogian and Atherly were taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead.
The call about the vehicle came shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday, police said. Gogian and Atherly had arrived as backup for another officer when someone in the vehicle they were investigating started shooting.
"I don't believe they had any idea this situation was going to go this direction as quickly as it did," Miller said.
Police would not say whether the officers had reached the vehicle when they were shot or what kind of gun was used in the shooting.
Miller said there was more than one person in the vehicle, which later was found outside a house about 10 blocks from the grocery store. Officers searched the home but didn't find the shooting suspect.
The chief declined to say why officers were investigating the vehicle and why it was considered suspicious.
Old neighborhoods, economically and ethnically diverse, surround the grocery store. Some of the homes are a century old, and they vary in how well they've been kept up. Green space behind the store is home to an annual art fair, and the city's public library is within walking distance.
A small crowd met for a candlelight vigil Sunday night outside police headquarters after hearing about the shooting. As the group gathered, police officials announced to reporters nearby that the officers had died.
Gogian started with the Topeka Police Department in September 2004. Atherly had been with the department since April 2011.
Miller said Gogian was a retired military serviceman. It wasn't immediately clear what branch of the military. He has a son who's also a Topeka police officer.
"He had spent his life in service to his country and in the city of Topeka," the chief said.
Meanwhile, Atherly was "just getting started" in his career, he said.
The last time a Topeka officer was killed in the line of duty was 2000, and it's been longer than that -- since 1995 -- that one was fatally shot on the job.