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Witnesses: Man killed by KC police ‘baited’ officers to shoot him

Updated: 2013-08-14T05:27:25Z


The Kansas City Star

Kansas City police on Tuesday identified the man officers fatally shot Thursday night after he abruptly pulled his hand from his waistband as if he had a gun as Michael Ray Bitters.

Witnesses told police it appeared Bitters, 44, was trying to “bait” officers into shooting him during the incident about 7 p.m. at Northeast Parvin Road and North Corrington Avenue, just west of Interstate 435.

Bitters configured his hand as if he was holding a gun and pulled it abruptly from his waistband when one officer was preparing to fire a stun gun, police said. Bitters’ sudden action prompted four other officers to fire at Bitters, killing him.

According to police, officers were sent to a QuikTrip after someone saw Bitters and knew he had an outstanding parole violation warrant. The caller described what Bitters was wearing, including blue pajama pants.

When officers approached, Bitters immediately began resisting arrest, refusing to show his hands when police asked. The officers followed him as he ducked between two tractor-trailers parked between the QuikTrip and a motel. He led the officers to the motel and ended up facing a wall, where he crouched, then suddenly turned, pulled his hand from his waistband and pointed his hand at officers.

Police did not release the number of shots fired or the number of times Bitters was hit. Someone who knew Bitters told police he had tried to get police to shoot him in a previous incident.

Bitters was on parole for a theft conviction and on probation for a 2012 possession of a controlled substance conviction. He was married and had two sons, according to his obituary, which appeared Tuesday in The Star. The obituary said he was a beloved father and was preceded in death by a daughter.

To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to

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