Clay County suspect shot with bean bag bullet after jumping from hotel window

LIBERTY, Mo. -- A 43-year-old man is recovering in the hospital after being shot by police and jumping off of a hotel roof.

It happened Sunday at the Woodspring Suites near Interstate 35 and North Church Road in Liberty. Some are now praising the officers who responded for their choice to use less-than-lethal force.

Liberty police and Clay County deputies were confronted with a wanted felon on the roof of a hotel Sunday afternoon.

The suspect had jumped out a window, onto an awning, after police went to his hotel room. After giving him repeated warnings, deputies fired a bean bag round, hitting him in the leg.

"It's not fun getting shot with a bean bag round. It hurts," said Captain Will Akin of the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

The suspect, 43-year-old Bradley Kuker, flew off the rooftop to the sidewalk below. He was arrested on multiple outstanding felony and misdemeanor warrants, with an extra charge of resisting arrest, and was left with an injured leg.

"It's a non-lethal option and really delivers a pain compliance that we're trying to look for somebody to say, 'OK, you know what, that's not worth it. I'm going to go ahead and follow commands of the deputies,'" Akin said.

Clay County deputies said the circumstances of each situation determine what kind of force is used.

"We still have our job to do to keep the public safe. To keep the person we're trying to apprehend safe, then that level of us, keeping ourselves safe. So there's a level, spectrum or ladder if you will," Akin said.

Bean bag bullets have been used by the agency at least three times in the past year. Each time, the suspect surrendered without a need for any extra use of force.

Colleen Luper was in the hotel when Sunday's incident happened and was glad to see officers using a less-than-lethal option to handle the situation.

"They did a great job. They didn't use any kind of excessive anything. And I really did appreciate it, and I told them, 'Good job. That's what I like to see,'" Luper said.

Clay County said using less-than-lethal force isn't in response to outcry over police shootings, but the equipment is becoming more readily available and is used when appropriate.

The sheriff's office is working toward all its road deputies being equipped with bean bag guns.