A 16-year-old Blue Springs boy wrote a suicide note before making a predawn 911 call to lure police to his neighborhood so they would kill him Wednesday, authorities say.
The officers thought they were looking for a burglar in the neighborhood south of U.S. 40.
When the boy confronted them with a knife about 5 a.m., they fired, investigators said. The boy died.
Investigators found a note inside the boy’s home that referred to the confrontation with police as a suicide attempt, said Sgt. Bill Lowe, a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol, which is investigating the incident.
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“Anytime when you’re dealing with a situation like this — someone’s life has been taken — it is a tragedy,” Lowe said. “When you’re talking about a 16-year-old, it’s even more tragic.
“It’s something that, psychologically, we can’t understand what the motivations were.”
The shooting occurred in the 1500 block of Southwest 20th Street, a residential area less than two blocks from Franklin Smith Elementary School. The boy lived in the neighborhood, officials said.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who was on the scene Wednesday morning, said she had spoken with the victim’s family.
“They are quite distraught, as you can imagine, and expressed concerns as well for the officers in this case,” she said.
Two police officers went to the neighborhood looking for a prowler fitting the description that the caller gave them, Baker said.
“They believed they had encountered that person.”
After the shooting, the officers and others rendered first aid to the boy, she said.
Cecil Albertson, who lives in a home adjacent to the shooting location, was awake when the shooting occurred.
“I don’t sleep very well and I was up watching TV,” Albertson said. “I heard a funny noise and then a gunshot.”
Albertson, a 39-year resident of the neighborhood, couldn’t figure out what the first noise represented and why a gunshot would have followed it. He stayed inside his home and turned his attention back to the television until he noticed police cars on the street.
Nearby, the noise awoke Wes Barttrum, who with his wife, Julie, has lived in the neighborhood since 1986.
“I heard a fast series of pops in rapid succession,” he said. “I’m not that familiar with gunfire and to me it sounded like fireworks. I thought it might be kids pulling a prank. That kind of thing sometimes has happened out here.
“I looked out my window and saw nothing, so I went back to bed. It wasn’t until later when I woke up and let the dogs out that I saw the police cars.”
Wednesday’s shooting was the first fatal officer-involved shooting in Blue Springs since 2011, a police spokeswoman said.
It is the second fatal shooting involving eastern Jackson County police agencies this year. An Independence police officer shot and killed Scott Harless, 47, on Feb. 2 after he pointed a gun at an officer following a car chase into south Kansas City.