A Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputy has been upgraded to fair condition and a suspect in his shooting remains in serious condition following a shooting Monday night in Butler County.
A second suspect in the incident, a female, is in the Butler County Jail.
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Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet and Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter on Tuesday gave an update about the shooting, which began as a car chase in Sedgwick County.
Herzet identified the male suspect as Jason C. Perez, 35, of Gardner. He said Perez had spent time in prison for drug offenses and that he has been on parole.
He identified the female suspect as Clara C. Crosser, 27, also of Gardner. She was treated and released from a hospital and is being held in jail on suspicion of two counts of attempted first degree murder.
Easter declined to identify the deputy but said he is 33, has been with the Sheriff’s Office for five years and works as a K-9 officer.
Easter said the deputy is expected to survive, “and we’re very happy about that.”
The sheriffs wouldn’t say which suspect they think shot the deputy. “There was a lot of gunfire,” and there is an ongoing investigation, Herzet said.
The two suspects had stayed at a Wichita hotel, Easter said.
The sheriffs gave this account:
The chase that led to the shooting began at about 6:16 p.m. in Sedgwick County and lasted about 12 minutes; four minutes later, the deputy was hit by shotgun pellets on his right side, including his eye.
The deputy saw a white Cadillac going north on I-135 at a high speed, weaving in and out of traffic, and began to pursue it. The chase reached speeds of 90 to 120 mph. The Cadillac had a female passenger.
Traffic was light, so the chase was allowed to continue.
The Cadillac came to a stop on Northwest 70th near an occupied farmhouse southeast of Potwin. The deputy saw that the car was smoking and thought the engine was “blown.”
The two suspects fled through a hedgerow. At 6:32 p.m., the Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputy was back on the air, saying he had been shot and needed assistance. The deputy had fired back. He was taken by ambulance to Wesley Medical Center, where he is recovering Tuesday from surgery to his right eye, Easter said.
Herzet said a number of agencies set up a perimeter around the suspects, who continued east toward a second, occupied farmhouse. A resident had heard screaming and gunfire and told his wife to go inside and lock the doors.
The male and female both walked toward the second farmhouse, each carrying a weapon. They tried to steal a vehicle; when they couldn’t take off in the vehicle, they continued to the east and north and turned and fired and hit a Butler County sheriff’s car in the driver’s side door; they continued to a field and fired several more rounds at deputies.
Apparently realizing that they were hemmed in, they reversed their path and headed back to the west. They encountered state troopers and Butler County deputies, and a trooper fired one round that hit the male suspect in the chest.
The male suspect remains in serious condition at Wesley Medical Center and has a guard with him, Easter said.
Easter said a number of factors supported the decision to chase the Cadillac, which was registered to the woman.
For one thing, the Cadillac was driving unsafely, he said. A sheriff’s supervisor tracked the chase the entire time. The deputy chasing the car was calm and knew where he was. There was a concern that with the way the Cadillac was driving, it had to be stopped before “they do kill somebody,” Easter said.
As for the deputy, it’s not clear how his eyesight will be affected, Easter said. The deputy was shot at close range and was on the ground when others arrived, he said.
About 10 agencies responded to the incident.
The KBI will investigate the trooper’s shooting of the male suspect.
Contributing: Stan Finger and Rick Plumlee of the Eagle.