TOPEKA – The Topeka Police Department is mourning the loss of another officer gunned down in the line of duty, barely a year and a-half after two of its police officers were fatally wounded in a supermarket parking lot.
Police Cpl. Jason Harwood, 40, a father of two children, was shot Sunday after pulling a car over at 4:45 p.m. and was pronounced dead at a local hospital 15 minutes later.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones said those responsible for Harwood’s death are in custody.
A 30-year-old Topeka man was being held in Shawnee County Jail without bond and was expected to be formally charged with capital murder of a law enforcement officer. He was arrested Sunday night in Lawrence after police said he was taken there by another 30-year-old on a stolen motorcycle that eventually broke down.
The second man was being held on $1 million bond on suspicion of theft, possessing stolen property, obstructing justice and aiding a felon. Both suspects made court appearances Monday morning.
Interim Topeka Police Chief Tony Kirk described Harwood – whose brother is a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper – as a career-minded officer who had been promoted to corporal less than two years ago.
“He was an outstanding police officer,” Kirk said. “He loved his job. It was more than a job for him, it was a career.”
Kirk said Harwood’s death has stunned a police department that still hadn’t healed from the loss of two other offices in December 2012.
On Dec. 16, 2012, Cpl. David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly were investigating reported drug activity at a central Topeka grocery store when they were shot by David Tiscareno, 22, who was killed about 12 hours later after an armed standoff with police.
“Unfortunately we have experience in dealing with some of these types of issues,” Kirk said.