Crime

Guilty plea in shooting that led to killing of KCK police captain

Kansas City, Kan., police Capt. Robert Melton laid to rest at Leavenworth National Cemetery

Family and friends gathered together Saturday, July 23, 2016, at Leavenworth National Cemetery to bury Kansas City, Kan., police Capt. Robert Melton, who was killed in the line of duty.
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Family and friends gathered together Saturday, July 23, 2016, at Leavenworth National Cemetery to bury Kansas City, Kan., police Capt. Robert Melton, who was killed in the line of duty.

An 18-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to committing the drive-by shooting that Kansas City, Kan., Police Capt. Robert David Melton was investigating when he was fatally shot in July.

DaQon Sipple waived his preliminary hearing in Wyandotte County District Court and pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault, criminal discharge of a firearm and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

As part of Thursday’s plea agreement, Sipple agreed to testify truthfully if called as a witness in the case against Jamaal Lewis.

Lewis, 20, is charged with capital murder in the killing of Melton.

The drive-by shooting occurred about 1:30 p.m. July 19 in the 200 block of Edgerton Avenue.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Tatum said Thursday that Sipple fired shots from a 9 mm handgun at another man he had had a prior dispute with. No one was injured, but several bullets struck an unoccupied apartment.

Lewis was allegedly driving the burgundy Pontiac Grand Prix from which the shots were fired.

A short time later, the car was involved in a wreck near 15th Street and Rowland Avenue, and the occupants fled.

When a Kansas City, Kan., officer approached Sipple, Sipple reached for his waistband as he walked toward the officer, Tatum said. The officer was able to get Sipple in custody and took a 9 mm handgun from Sipple’s waistband, Tatum said.

Later testing matched the gun with evidence from the scene of the drive-by shooting, she said.

After Sipple was arrested, Melton spotted one of the suspects walking near 22nd Street and Georgia Avenue a short time later.

As Melton attempted to use his patrol vehicle to block the suspect, the man pulled out a handgun and fired shots into the captain’s car.

Melton was rushed to a hospital where he later died, and other officers found Lewis and arrested him.

Under terms of Sipple’s plea agreement, attorneys will recommend that his sentences run concurrently. They estimated that under Kansas sentencing guidelines, he faces a sentence of one year and nine months in prison.

District Judge Wes Griffin set Sipple’s sentencing for Nov. 18.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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