Widow confused about husband’s death during standoff with police, wants his belongings back

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- About six months after Shirley Ware's husband barricaded himself into their Kansas City home and opened fire on police, Ware is waiting for answers to her many questions.

She had been married to her husband William, 68, for 37 years when he died in a standoff and then shootout with police on January 3, 2014.

"I would just like to know what happened," Ware said.

A source told FOX 4 that William Ware lured officers to the couple's home at 515 E. 129th Terrace by calling 911 and saying, "Send police officers over. I have something for them. There's going to be a shooting," and then hung up.

When police arrived, they found a man standing outside the home. They say he fired at them, forcing police to evacuate a half a dozen homes in the area and telling others to go to their basements. The man continued to fire shots, police said, hitting cars, but no officers. When a tactical officer noticed the man pointing a gun from a window at fellow officers, the officer fired at him. After releasing tear gas, they sent a camera inside the home and found the man was dead.

Shirley Ware described her husband as suffering from Parkinson's Disease, dementia and depression and she's confused by what she says are conflicting reports and information about what ultimately killed him.

Ware says his death certificate lists William's cause of death as suicide, but she doesn't think that's accurate. In January, after the standoff, police said they had not determined whether Ware died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or from an officer's gunshot.

"The information I got from the M.E. was that he was shot in the back of the head. I find it hard to think that it's suicide," Shirley Ware said.

Ware does not have an official document from the medical examiner's office because it says it cannot release the autopsy report until it receives clearance from the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office says it can't give approval until a grand jury is called to provide an outside review of police actions.

Shirley Ware also wants her husband's belongings back, especially his wallet and watch.

The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office told FOX 4 that it can help Ware recover some of the items in evidence, if she would send a request to them naming the specific items she seeks. The prosecutor's office said it would then work with the Kansas City, Mo. Police Dept. to determine which items can be returned.

"I get to move back into my house and this is just weighing on my mind that I think I need some kind of closure. I need to get his personal belongings back," Ware said.

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8 comments

  • DC

    “The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office told FOX 4 that it can help Ware recover some of the items in evidence, if she would send a request to them naming the specific items she seeks.”

    Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office takes the cake, again. Why are they not returning everything?

    • Nik

      Some of it may be evidence that they have determined they still need. Like his gun, the clothes he was wearing, etc. I know when a person is murdered the family may never get all of that persons belongings back. Even after they have had the trial and found someone guilty of that murder. They have to keep evidence in case the person found guilty appeals the case.

    • Ware

      I am his daughter and we were assisted by the police in removing his guns in early 2013. I took those guns into my possession and was threatened by a theft charge by my parents. They did purchase a gun safe, but not living in the home I cannot comment on how this was allowed to happen.

      • Sam

        So sorry to hear of your loss. Your family is being thought of. May your father rest in peace and your family find the answers that have been unanswered, and the peace you’ll need to move forward from this tragic loss.