A Topeka father was killed while reportedly fleeing from police, according to an officer with the Topeka Police Department.
Dominique Tyrell White, 30, was contacted by at least two Topeka officers in the 300 block of S.E. Lawrence St. on Thursday morning. The officers were responding to reports of gunshots, according to the Lawrence Police Department, which has assumed responsibility for an investigation of the incident at the request of the Topeka police.
Officers discovered White at the scene, who police said was armed with a firearm. A struggle broke out between him and the officers, Lawrence police added.
Topeka police Lt. Colleen Stuart gave more detail of the incident, telling the Topeka Capital-Journal that White was initially encountered as a “suspicious person in the area.” Stuart went on to say that after the struggle, White was fleeing when he was shot and killed.
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“In the process of trying to secure the firearm, the individual struggled with officers and attempted to flee,” Stuart said. “While fleeing from officers, the individual reached for the pocket containing the firearm, causing the officers to fire their weapons.”
The Topeka Police Department did not immediately return a request to confirm Stuart’s comments.
In an email, Drew Fennelly, a spokesman for Lawrence police, responded to a question about the comments.
“We are not confirming, or disputing, anything the Topeka Police Department has released,” he wrote, “but I would point out that what we released, and what they released, are not conflicting.
Chris White-Ready, White’s cousin, described him as “smart, funny, charming.”
“He has had some trouble with the law,” White-Ready told The Star. “However my cousin is not the type to do something that would warrant the police to gun him down while running away. I believe that with all my heart.”
According to Kansas Department of Corrections records, White was convicted of residential burglary stemming from a 2014 incident and criminal in possession of a weapon from a 2016 incident. He was paroled in May.
Others who knew White described him as a loving father of four.
Joseph Potts, a friend and former coworker of White’s at an Auburn, Kan., lawn care company, said White was “a hard worker and a good leader.”
White’s mother, Theresa Joyce-Wynne, declined to comment to The Star, but she confirmed White was a father of four.
In a Facebook post Friday, Molly White wrote that one of her worst nightmares had come true.
She cautioned that there were rumors swirling about the circumstances of White’s death.
Lawrence police, the department tasked with responding to media, declined to answer some questions posed by The Star.
“We are not willing to discuss any facts of the case, at this time, beyond what we have already released,” Fennelly wrote. “We are conducting an independent investigation from the Topeka Police Department to establish all of the circumstances and facts of the incident.”
Molly White called White a “wonderful person” who was loved dearly by friends.
“I don't ask for much, but this was sudden and we were not financially prepared,” she wrote. “If you are able to or would like to help out with arrangements you could contact Johnson Bowser funeral home to contribute. ... Please understand that we do not expect anything we just want to provide an opportunity for those that can or are able to help to do so. Thank you all, hug your kids a little tighter today.”
Police say they are actively seeking witnesses. To contact authorities, call 785-832-7509.