TOPEKA, Kan. – Police fatally shot a man near a park in Kansas' capital city on Thursday, saying he was armed with a handgun and struggled with officers.
Topeka police said the shooting occurred after officers responded to a report of a disturbance and shots being fired near the park Thursday morning and encountered the man, whom they described as "a suspicious person." Officers fired at him as he attempted to flee.
"While fleeing from officers, the individual reached for the pocket containing the firearm, causing the officers to fire their weapons," police Lt. Colleen Stuart said in a video statement. "The individual's gun was recovered from the scene."
Police did not release the names or races of the officers involved or the man who was shot. They said the police department in Lawrence, 20 miles to the east, would investigate the incident.
Kansas Highway Patrol and Shawnee County sheriff's officers also converged on the scene as dozens of people gathered in the area, some of them agitated, according to local media reports. However, the crowd dispersed quickly.
Speaking to reporters outside her nearby apartment about 90 minutes after the shooting, 67-year-old Asalean Netherland criticized the police but also said people must obey officers' commands.
"That boy was killed innocently, no reason, just by not stopping," Netherland said in a video posted online by The Topeka Capital-Journal. "Just want to make everybody know, when they say stop."
She continued, yelling, "STOP! They need to stop whether you wrong or right you're going to be caught anyway."