Lenexa residents on edge after 8-hour manhunt ends in felon’s arrest

LENEXA, Kan. -- A dangerous felon was on the run for about 8 hours Monday, which caused stress on what was supposed to be a relaxing holiday for the people who live near K-7 and Prairie Star Parkway.

A Lenexa police officer spotted a car with its lights off about 5 a.m. Monday and tried to pull it over. But instead, the driver took off. Police laid down stop sticks, and the car crashed when the driver tried to go northbound onto the southbound ramp of K-7.

It's something people who live in the Western part of Lenexa didn't expect on Labor Day.

“I noticed all of the police cars, 5 or 6 of them, I think,” said Kerry Pike, who noticed the large police presence when he got home.

Joseph Birdsong

“This neighborhood, the biggest conflict we have are neighbors parking in the wrong spot or doing something like that,” Pike said. “But nothing like a police chase.”

After the police chase and crash, the suspect, 26-year-old Joseph Birdsong, ran off into the woods and disappeared for almost 8 hours. That's when the manhunt began.

“There is the chance that maybe somebody has already come and picked him up but we don’t know until we look,” Lenexa Police Maj. Dawn Layman said.

Lenexa police called in officers from all shifts. Some in patrol cars, on foot, riding ATV’s, tracking dogs and drones searched the wooded area off of K-7 where Birdsong ran. The Kansas Highway Patrol even helped out with a plane to scout the area.

“A lot of times, having this many officers out here hopefully would drive that person to want to surrender and give up, and we hope that that happens pretty quickly,” Layman said during the manhunt.

The search was called off after several hours. Police thought Birdsong probably made it out of the search perimeter before it was set.

Birdsong was considered armed and dangerous and has a felony warrant for aggravated assault on a police officer where he used a gun.

Lenexa Police got the warning out on FOX4 and social media, which ended up being the key to finding him. Someone spotted Birdsong near K-7 and 83rd Street and called police. Birdson was then arrested.

When Birdsong took off, he left two women behind in the car. They were arrested but, as of now, have not been charged with any crimes.