Local News Spotlight

Rockhurst University officer kills armed man near campus

Police say the man got out of a disabled car, yelled at people and pointed gun at officer.

Updated: 2013-01-04T03:55:02Z

By CHRISTINE VENDEL

The Kansas City Star

A Rockhurst University security officer shot and killed an armed man after a traffic accident Thursday afternoon near the campus.

Kansas City police said the man’s vehicle repeatedly rammed the back of a woman’s vehicle on 52nd Street just east of Troost Avenue about 3 p.m. and then the man tried to drive away. But his car stopped working in the 52nd and Troost intersection.

He got out of the car, which suffered heavy front-end damage, and started angrily yelling at bystanders while waving a gun, police said. He chased away a doctor who had approached him to offer help, police said.

“He was mad at the world,” said Sgt. Martin Cobbinah.

An employee of a nearby business saw the disturbance and pressed a “panic button,” which summoned Rockhurst officers, police said.

Two campus security officers arrived and tried to intervene, police said. The man reportedly pointed a gun at a security officer, and the officer shot the gunman in the chest, police said.

The man later died at a hospital. Police did not release his name or age. Police were investigating whether any of his actions earlier in the day could help explain his behavior. A carjacking was reported nearby about the same time as the shooting, but police later determined that the crime at 55th Street and Prospect Avenue was unrelated, police said.

Homicide detectives were interviewing about a dozen witnesses Thursday night to get more information and determine if the gunman pointed his weapon at any of them. The man’s death will be counted as the city’s first homicide of the year. The definition of homicide is the killing of a human being by another human being. Not all homicides constitute a criminal act.

Police said they were glad no one else was shot because the man was acting irrationally with his gun in a crowded area.

Classes are out for winter break at Rockhurst, but staff members had returned to work Wednesday and were on campus when the shooting occurred Thursday.

Rockhurst spokesman Katherine Frohoff said there may have been a few faculty members and some students on the Jesuit university campus on Troost between 52nd and 54th streets. No Rockhurst students or faculty members were involved in the shooting, which Frohoff said happened on the street.

Frohoff, whose office is on the southeast corner of campus, said she heard sirens and went outside to see what was going on. She learned that a member of Rockhurst’s security staff may have been involved but had no further details.

To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to cvendel@kcstar.com. To reach Mará Rose Williams, call 816-234-4419 or send email to mdwilliams@kcstar.com.

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