The person who called 911 before Blue Valley Northwest High School student John Albers died in a police shooting Saturday had witnessed the teenager’s last wave of distress in a FaceTime phone call, police radio traffic shows.
At least one officer rushing to the home knew something of Albers’ troubled history before a police officer shot him as he drove a car out of his family’s garage in the direction of officers.
An Overland Park police dispatcher at 5:43 p.m. Saturday called for officers to respond to a suicide attempt at the home in the 9300 block of West 149th Terrace.
“He took pills, and (was) drinking heavily,” the dispatcher said. “He (the 911 caller) saw this on FaceTime. He (Albers) also told (the 911 caller) that he was going to stab himself and he’s done with life.”
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Albers was in the basement of the home, the dispatcher advised. No parents were home. An ambulance was en route.
One officer radioed that he was running on the call.
“I’m familiar with that kid,” he said.
Johnson County court records show he had been released to his parents earlier this month after he’d been charged in a misdemeanor domestic violence complaint involving a girl. His release was conditional, including requirements he refrain from alcohol, drugs and vaping, and that he participate in mental health treatment and take his medications as prescribed.
He had been charged previously in 2016 in a domestic violence complaint involving his mother and another family member. That juvenile division case was dismissed.
It is not clear how much of Albers’ history was known to the responding officers.
The situation, however, was worsening quickly for Albers, whose death would let loose a flood of grief from schoolmates who remembered him as “loving,” “loyal,” and “giving.”
By 5:50 p.m. Saturday, police dispatch alerted that the call to the Albers’ home was now “Code one. Stabbing.”
“Copy,” came a first-responder’s reply. “We’re sending them in.”
Within a minute, someone radioed, “It seems to be a confirmed J-21 (suicide attempt) at this time. And they’ve requested additional units.”
The last call picked up by the website Broadcastify was the dispatcher, listing three more officer numbers, saying, “You could all be en route for the (suicide) attempt” on West 149th Terrace.
The radio traffic found on the website does not reveal any clues on just when or how Albers was shot.
Police said that “as the responding officers approached the residence to make contact, the garage door opened and a vehicle exited the garage, moving rapidly toward one of the responding officers. The officer discharged his service weapon striking the male driver,” the statement said. “The driver died at the scene.”
Albers was a junior at Blue Valley Northwest High School. His mother is principal of Blue Valley’s Harmony Middle School.
Albers’ family has not spoken publicly about John and his death, except to release a statement on social media saying, “We are heartbroken at the loss of our beloved son, John. We truly appreciate the outpouring of support from friends, family and community. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and for respecting our privacy during this very difficult time.”
Many students and others gathered Sunday night at Sunset Ridge Elementary School, where Albers had gone to elementary school, to remember him in a private ceremony.
Memories shared by students were gathered by the high school’s online student publication, BVNW News.
Albers was “very caring, very outgoing, very loyal,” and “very, very, very giving,” junior Gabriel Bright told BVNW News.
“I loved him,” he said. “I want to raise awareness and make sure everybody knew that this world, this bubble that we live in isn’t always so perfect.”
The officer who fired his weapon has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated by the Johnson County Officer-Involved Shooting Team.