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Prosecutor Charges Man In Kansas Police Officer’s Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old man was charged Thursday with capital murder in the death of a Kansas police officer fatally shot inside his patrol car while investigating a drive-by shooting, a prosecutor said. Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman said Jamaal R. Lewis fired the shots Tuesday that killed 46-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, police Capt. Robert Melton. Lewis also faces charges of aggravated assault and criminal discharge of a weapon from an incident earlier Tuesday. A second man, 18-year-old DaQon J. Sipple, has been charged with aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer involving a different officer than Melton and with criminal discharge of a weapon. Lewis and Sipple, both from Kansas City, Kansas, have been in custody since Tuesday. It’s unclear whether they have lawyers yet who could comment on the allegations. They are expected to make their first court appearances in the case Friday. Bond has been set at $10 million for Lewis and $100,000 for Sipple, Gorman said. Prosecutors haven’t determined whether to pursue the death penalty against Lewis, Gorman said, adding that it could take months before that decision is made. Neither defendant has an adult criminal record, the district attorney said. “Our hearts go out to the Melton family,” Gorman said at a news conference to announce the charges. “And we also want to send those same thoughts out to the entire Kansas City, Kansas, law enforcement community and all law enforcement here in the metro area and across the United States.” Police Chief Terry Zeigler has said Melton appears to have been shot by someone trying to elude authorities and that it wasn’t part of a planned ambush. Melton was shot after police responded to a report of several people in a car firing shots. A vehicle believed to be connected to the gunfire took off as officers arrived, but it crashed into a fence, police have said. Two people were taken into custody just minutes after the wreck. Melton was alone searching for an additional drive-by shooting suspect when he drove up to a person who matched a description of someone possibly involved. Before the officer could get out of his unmarked police cruiser, he was shot several times through his passenger-side window and died later at a hospital. Gorman said Thursday that Melton was gunned down with rounds from a .40-caliber handgun that investigators believe they have located. He said Sipple fired seven or eight shots from a 9 mm handgun in the earlier gunfire, which left no one injured. Lewis was the getaway driver in the earlier shooting, he said. Melton was a 17-year veteran of the department and also served in the Kansas Army National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan before he retired in 2012, according to the guard. “Nothing’s ever going to replace, you know, Melton to any of us,” officer Amber Thomas, a department spokeswoman, said Thursday after the news conference. “I mean it’s a huge hole that’s left in this department. But it does help to know that those guys aren’t out there to kill somebody else, whether it be a fellow officer or just an innocent bystander.” Melton’s death is the second fatal shooting of a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer this year. On May 9, detective Brad Lancaster was fatally shot near the Kansas Speedway — the first shooting in the department in 19 years. Curtis Ayers, of Tonganoxie, is charged with capital murder in Lancaster’s death. Ayers is accused of shooting the detective in Kansas City, Kansas, and then fleeing in a car to Missouri, where police shot and wounded Ayers. — KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The fatal shooting of a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer was not part of a planned ambush, but the work of someone trying to evade arrest, authorities said Wednesday. Police Chief Terry Zeigler said during a news conference that authorities have two young men in custody, but declined to give details about possible charges. The department is working with prosecutors and planned to present the case to them “hopefully later today,” Zeigler said. While the attack isn’t part of the recent string of shootings of police in the U.S., Zeigler said the hate against police has got to stop. “The crime does not fit the national narrative of planned attacks against law enforcement officers, but it does fit the narrative fact that words matter. The anti-hate speech has got to stop because the consequences are real,” the chief said. Capt. Robert Melton was by himself searching for a suspect in a drive-by shooting when he drove up to someone who matched that person’s description just before 2 p.m. Tuesday. Before the 46-year-old could get out of his vehicle, he was shot several times through his passenger-side window, the chief said, adding that the department was reviewing its procedures. Melton was a 17-year veteran of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department. According to his LinkedIn profile, he had also served in the Kansas Army National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan from September 2010 to March 2012. “Officers come to work every day knowing they may have to die in the line of duty,” Zeigler said. “Most of us go through our careers and never have to experience that.” In the lobby of police headquarters, people left cards and flowers on a table draped in blue cloth. Kathryn Courtney brought a bouquet of yellow daisies Wednesday. The 31-year-old said she had known Melton for nearly 20 years, describing him as “born to protect and serve” and “a wonderful man with a heart of gold.” Melton’s relatives have asked for privacy. It’s the second time a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer has been shot and killed this year. In early May, detective Brad Lancaster was fatally shot near the Kansas Speedway, and Melton had served in the police honor guard at Lancaster’s funeral. The shooting also comes as police departments across the country are on edge after ambush attacks left eight officers dead in Texas and Louisiana. Mayor Mark Holland of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County referenced Lancaster’s shooting Wednesday, saying that the community is still “healing and reeling” from that shooting, which was the first in the department in 19 years. Ida Ford, 87, was watching television in her two-story brick home when gunfire erupted just outside. Ford said she thought someone was knocking on her air conditioner until her son rushed downstairs and told her the noises were gunshots. Ford said she looked through her window and saw the officer sprawled in the road in front of her home, and she watched as paramedics worked on the officer. “I’m just so sorry for his family,” she said. Melton was brought to the University of Kansas Hospital just before 2:30 p.m., but resuscitation efforts did not work, trauma surgeon James Howard said Tuesday. The shooting happened after police responded to a report around 1:30 p.m. from a person who said several people in a car were firing shots. The suspect vehicle took off as police arrived, but it crashed into a fence and the occupants bailed out at 1:36 p.m., police spokesman Tom Tomasic said Tuesday. Outside of the hospital where Melton was brought, local Baptist preacher Jimmie Banks — a friend of the city’s mayor — sat dejected on a bench, head lowered, after attending Tuesday’s news conference. “The contributions that peace officers make to protect and serve — they deserve better,” he said. “When they leave home, the family expects them to return. It’s shameful this has happened.” Like BlackAmericaWeb.com on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. (Photo Source: AP)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old man was charged Thursday with capital murder in the death of a Kansas police officer fatally shot inside his patrol car while investigating a drive-by shooting, a prosecutor said.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman said Jamaal R. Lewis fired the shots Tuesday that killed 46-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, police Capt. Robert Melton. Lewis also faces charges of aggravated assault and criminal discharge of a weapon from an incident earlier Tuesday.

A second man, 18-year-old DaQon J. Sipple, has been charged with aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer involving a different officer than Melton and with criminal discharge of a weapon.

Lewis and Sipple, both from Kansas City, Kansas, have been in custody since Tuesday. It’s unclear whether they have lawyers yet who could comment on the allegations.

They are expected to make their first court appearances in the case Friday. Bond has been set at $10 million for Lewis and $100,000 for Sipple, Gorman said.

Prosecutors haven’t determined whether to pursue the death penalty against Lewis, Gorman said, adding that it could take months before that decision is made.

Neither defendant has an adult criminal record, the district attorney said.

“Our hearts go out to the Melton family,” Gorman said at a news conference to announce the charges. “And we also want to send those same thoughts out to the entire Kansas City, Kansas, law enforcement community and all law enforcement here in the metro area and across the United States.”

Police Chief Terry Zeigler has said Melton appears to have been shot by someone trying to elude authorities and that it wasn’t part of a planned ambush.

Melton was shot after police responded to a report of several people in a car firing shots. A vehicle believed to be connected to the gunfire took off as officers arrived, but it crashed into a fence, police have said. Two people were taken into custody just minutes after the wreck.

Melton was alone searching for an additional drive-by shooting suspect when he drove up to a person who matched a description of someone possibly involved. Before the officer could get out of his unmarked police cruiser, he was shot several times through his passenger-side window and died later at a hospital.

Gorman said Thursday that Melton was gunned down with rounds from a .40-caliber handgun that investigators believe they have located. He said Sipple fired seven or eight shots from a 9 mm handgun in the earlier gunfire, which left no one injured.

Lewis was the getaway driver in the earlier shooting, he said.

Melton was a 17-year veteran of the department and also served in the Kansas Army National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan before he retired in 2012, according to the guard.

“Nothing’s ever going to replace, you know, Melton to any of us,” officer Amber Thomas, a department spokeswoman, said Thursday after the news conference. “I mean it’s a huge hole that’s left in this department. But it does help to know that those guys aren’t out there to kill somebody else, whether it be a fellow officer or just an innocent bystander.”

Melton’s death is the second fatal shooting of a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer this year. On May 9, detective Brad Lancaster was fatally shot near the Kansas Speedway — the first shooting in the department in 19 years.

Curtis Ayers, of Tonganoxie, is charged with capital murder in Lancaster’s death. Ayers is accused of shooting the detective in Kansas City, Kansas, and then fleeing in a car to Missouri, where police shot and wounded Ayers.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The fatal shooting of a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer was not part of a planned ambush, but the work of someone trying to evade arrest, authorities said Wednesday.

Police Chief Terry Zeigler said during a news conference that authorities have two young men in custody, but declined to give details about possible charges. The department is working with prosecutors and planned to present the case to them “hopefully later today,” Zeigler said.

While the attack isn’t part of the recent string of shootings of police in the U.S., Zeigler said the hate against police has got to stop.

“The crime does not fit the national narrative of planned attacks against law enforcement officers, but it does fit the narrative fact that words matter. The anti-hate speech has got to stop because the consequences are real,” the chief said.

Capt. Robert Melton was by himself searching for a suspect in a drive-by shooting when he drove up to someone who matched that person’s description just before 2 p.m. Tuesday. Before the 46-year-old could get out of his vehicle, he was shot several times through his passenger-side window, the chief said, adding that the department was reviewing its procedures.

Melton was a 17-year veteran of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department. According to his LinkedIn profile, he had also served in the Kansas Army National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan from September 2010 to March 2012.

“Officers come to work every day knowing they may have to die in the line of duty,” Zeigler said. “Most of us go through our careers and never have to experience that.”

In the lobby of police headquarters, people left cards and flowers on a table draped in blue cloth. Kathryn Courtney brought a bouquet of yellow daisies Wednesday. The 31-year-old said she had known Melton for nearly 20 years, describing him as “born to protect and serve” and “a wonderful man with a heart of gold.”

Melton’s relatives have asked for privacy.

It’s the second time a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer has been shot and killed this year. In early May, detective Brad Lancaster was fatally shot near the Kansas Speedway, and Melton had served in the police honor guard at Lancaster’s funeral. The shooting also comes as police departments across the country are on edge after ambush attacks left eight officers dead in Texas and Louisiana.

Mayor Mark Holland of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County referenced Lancaster’s shooting Wednesday, saying that the community is still “healing and reeling” from that shooting, which was the first in the department in 19 years.

Ida Ford, 87, was watching television in her two-story brick home when gunfire erupted just outside. Ford said she thought someone was knocking on her air conditioner until her son rushed downstairs and told her the noises were gunshots. Ford said she looked through her window and saw the officer sprawled in the road in front of her home, and she watched as paramedics worked on the officer.

“I’m just so sorry for his family,” she said.

Melton was brought to the University of Kansas Hospital just before 2:30 p.m., but resuscitation efforts did not work, trauma surgeon James Howard said Tuesday.

The shooting happened after police responded to a report around 1:30 p.m. from a person who said several people in a car were firing shots. The suspect vehicle took off as police arrived, but it crashed into a fence and the occupants bailed out at 1:36 p.m., police spokesman Tom Tomasic said Tuesday.

Outside of the hospital where Melton was brought, local Baptist preacher Jimmie Banks — a friend of the city’s mayor — sat dejected on a bench, head lowered, after attending Tuesday’s news conference.

“The contributions that peace officers make to protect and serve — they deserve better,” he said. “When they leave home, the family expects them to return. It’s shameful this has happened.”

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(Photo Source: AP)

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Prosecutor Charges Man In Kansas Police Officer’s Death

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