Warsaw police chief released from hospital after being shot in chest during chase with suspect

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WARSAW, Mo. -- The Warsaw police chief shot in the chest Friday morning has been released from the hospital.

Warsaw Police Chief Jason Wenberg was shot by a 16-year-old suspect that police had been searching for since a wild chase Thursday night.

Warsaw Police Chief Jason Wenberg with his family after being released from the hospital Friday.

According to the Benton County Sheriff's Department, the 16-year-old led officers on a high-speed pursuit Thursday night while driving a stolen car. At one point the suspect fired at a patrol vehicle, but no one was injured at that time.

The sheriff's department said the suspect then drove at a high rate of speed traveling south in the northbound lane. He eventually abandoned his vehicle at the off-ramp of the Dam Access Road and ran into the woods.

Henry County Sheriff's Office deployed a K-9 team to track the suspect for several hours.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says at approximately 8:15 a.m. Friday someone notified a Warsaw officer of a suspicious subject near Main Street and Seminary Street.

When they tried to contact the suspect, an altercation happened. The suspect showed a handgun and fired at Wenberg. The shot hit the police chief in his vest, which stopped the bullet. He was able to return fire and hit the suspect.

At least one bullet his a patrol vehicle.

Wenberg was just named chief in February. He was treated and quickly released from the hospital Friday. He was remarkably saved by his bullet-proof vest.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the 16-year-old suspect is at a hospital in Columbia, with a gunshot wound. A Benton County reporter initially told FOX4 that he thought the suspect had died.

The small community of Warsaw, home to just 2,000 people, is left stunned after the shooting.

"I pulled up to the office here about 8:15 and as I was opening my door, I heard two gun shots," witness Josh Roberts said.

Roberts said the sound stopped him in his tracks.

"I stood there just trying to gather myself for a minute.  All the sudden, a gold Camry just came screaming by the office," Roberts said.

The driver of that gold car was Dewayne Bauer.  He'd just dropped his son off at school, when he passed through the intersection of Washington and Seminary.

"Come pulling up there and I seen the cop trying to subdue the suspect and saw the suspect pull a gun out.  Then I heard a shot," said Bauer.

He raced to the bottom of the hill, blowing through stop signs, to find help at the sheriff's department.

"The cops were swarming the street here and I pointed to where he was at," Bauer said.

Warsaw is approximately 100 miles southeast or a two-hour drive from Kansas City. Just 30 miles away in Clinton, Missouri, two officers, Gary Michael and Ryan Morton, were killed in less than a year.

A store in Warsaw is selling special t-shirts to raise money for Wenberg and his family. If you would like to order one, visit this site.

Officer show in Warsaw, Mo.

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