OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Overland Park police are mourning a tragedy the department hasn’t grieved in decades. An officer killed in a Sunday night shootout is the first Overland Park officer killed on the job since Deanna Rose died in the line of duty in 1985.
The shooting was reported at 5:53 p.m.
Police tell FOX4 that the officer was trying to stop a suspect after a hit-and-run crash. Police say the officer saw the hit-and-run near 143rd and Antioch while he was off-duty, but in uniform getting ready to go into work.
The officer followed the suspect’s vehicle to 123rd and Mackey where the suspect stopped and the officer approached the vehicle. That’s when gushots were exchanged, both the officer and suspect were shot.
The suspect died on scene. The officer was taken to a hospital where he later passed away surrounded by his wife and daughter.
Video of the incident started making the rounds on social media almost immediately – and that reached the public quickly.
There are two apartment complexes at 123rd and Antioch where dozens of people gathered near the scene. When they heard two people died, one being a suspect in the hit-and-run that led to the shootout, and the other being the officer who tried to stop him, some people stayed and more joined to comfort others.
The shooting happened just down a hill from a church.
“I think we’re all broken in some way. And the challenge in answering why do bad things happen, tragic things happen? We can’t always explain it, but they do happen,” Reverend Gar Demo of St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church said.
“My understanding of faith is to show up and be present and to be in the community and do what we can to make a difference because there is still good in the world.”
Overland Park police are asking for the community’s prayers. Police haven’t identified the suspect or officer yet.
“Officers, they’re clinging to one another, you know. We’re a brotherhood or sisterhood, I know that the public has our back and at same time, other law enforcement agencies, they also have our back,” Officer John Lacy said.