Officers shoot, kill man armed with martial arts staff in Olathe Walmart parking lot

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OLATHE, Kan. -- An investigation is underway after an Olathe police officer shot and killed a 50-year-old man late Sunday near the Walmart off Santa Fe and K-7.

On Tuesday, police identified him as Walter R. Echols of Cypress, Texas.

Olathe police said around 10:30 p.m., police officers were called to the Walmart parking lot on a follow-up to a previous investigation, with concerns that a person might be armed.

When officers arrived, they found the suspect holding what they describe as a blunt object or a 'martial arts bo staff'. They ordered him to put it down, but say he refused.

When officers tried to take the suspect into custody, they say the man started swinging the bo staff and hit an officer with it. That's when officers, "utilized deadly force".

The suspect died at the scene.

"...Wanted him to surrender and put down the weapon he had, which looked like a long and rather large blunt object. He refused to do that. He was very belligerent and confrontational with officers," said Dan Friesen with Lenexa Police.

The injured officer went to the hospital to be treated from minor injuries and was later released.

Police say they're trying to determine if the man was involved in assaulting a woman on a nearby trail Sunday afternoon. Johnson County Park police say a woman reported being approached by a man asking if she 'knew Jesus.'  Park Police say when the woman called 911 the man grabbed her phone and smashed it on a rock.

Since the investigation involves Olathe police officers, the police department has handed off the investigation to a team of detectives from other law enforcement agencies.

The officers involved in the deadly shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave as the Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Team figures out exactly what happened.

They are asking for anyone at the store Sunday night who might have witnessed the shooting to give police a call on the TIPS hotline - 816-474-TIPS.

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