Smith County Attorney Tabitha Owen announced Thursday that her office has completed the review of the Dec. 15 shooting involving troopers from the Kansas Highway Patrol and a 15-year-old boy, according to a news release.
On the morning of Dec. 15, 2018, Smith County Sheriff’s personnel responded to a 911 call in rural Smith County.
Officers were informed of an attempted murder and notified that a juvenile suspect was armed and had fled on horseback. The Smith County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the KHP in locating the suspect. Smith County deputies and KHP troopers spent the next few hours attempting to locate and apprehend the juvenile suspect.
Eventually, the officers made contact with the juvenile. KHP troopers identified themselves and attempted to negotiate a peaceful surrender that continued for about two hours.
During the negotiation, law enforcement heard three gunshots coming from the juvenile’s location. Later, the juvenile ran toward a team of KHP troopers before raising his arms and firing a gun at the troopers, the release stated. Two troopers returned fire, striking the juvenile.
The juvenile was taken into custody by KHP and transported by ambulance for medical treatment. The investigation of the case was turned over to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI).
On Jan. 11, the KBI submitted the results of the investigation to the Smith County Attorney. Owen said her office reviewed the conduct of the two Kansas Highway Patrol Troopers that discharged their weapons, as well as the conduct of the juvenile.
Owen announced the juvenile has been charged with eight separate felony crimes, including one count of first degree attempted murder, one count of aggravated kidnapping, and six counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer.
Owen announced the investigation determined the conduct of the officers was justified because they were defending themselves and others. Owen's office will not seek criminal charges against the officers.
The KBI will continue to handle the investigation. The news release encouraged anyone with information related to these crimes to contact the KBI.