TOPEKA, Kan. — Authorities say a Topeka police officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop. He has been identified as Corporal Jason Harwood, a decorated 15-year veteran who leaves behind a wife and two children.
Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones said at a news conference Sunday night that the officer had stopped a car in east Topeka, and in the middle of the stop the officer was shot. Authorities said the car then drove away.
The sheriff’s department said authorities got the call about 4:45 p.m. and responders found the critically wounded officer, who was taken to a hospital. Jones said the officer was pronounced dead there.
“It affects people in different ways,” Topeka Interim Police Chief Tony Kirk said. “The first thing that you feel is shock. It’s like, ‘Oh my God, we just went through this less than 18 months ago. It just happened to be on a Sunday.’ Now we are trying to wrap our minds around, okay how did this happen and what are we going to do? And how are we going to cope and get through this?”
The sheriff’s office said a suspect, 30-year-old Ross Lane was taken into custody in Lawrence, Kan. Lane has a criminal record for burglary and criminal threats.
“Sometimes people think of us as Superman or Superwoman because we come in and we arrest people and do whatever, but at the end of the day, we have families, we have children, we have brothers, sisters, moms and dads,” Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones said. “We’re people, but we have to cope with that.”
A man police were seeking for questioning in regards to the shooting — Randy Allen Ridens Jr. — has been taken into custody.