The on-duty deaths of three Kansas City-area law enforcement officers were among the area’s biggest crime stories of 2016.
The Kansas City, Kan., Police Department suffered the deaths of two of its officers, victims of fatal shootings in separate incidents.
And a deputy with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office was killed in a traffic collision reportedly involving a drunk driver.
Kansas City, Kan., Detective Brad Lancaster was killed in May while helping other officers investigate a report of a suspicious person near the Kansas Speedway.
Lancaster, 39, was shot as he tried to use his car to block the person running from other officers.
After Lancaster was shot, the man fled in the detective’s vehicle before carjacking another motorist in Kansas City, Kan.
He then stole another person’s car keys at gunpoint in Tonganoxie.
Police in Kansas City spotted that car later in the day and began a chase that ended when the car wrecked near Bannister Road and Bruce Watkins Drive.
The driver then shot a woman while attempting to steal her car. He was shot by Kansas City police and taken into custody.
But in July, Melton was killed in circumstances similar to how Lancaster was killed.
Lewis was arrested nearby, and he is now charged with capital murder.
In September, Brandon Collins, a master deputy with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, was conducting a traffic stop on U.S. 69 in Overland Park when another vehicle slammed into his parked patrol vehicle.
The driver was allegedly driving drunk and was arrested on foot after fleeing from the crash scene.
Adrian Espinosa-Flores is now charged with involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal traffic crash. Espinosa-Flores had at least one prior DUI conviction and may be in the country illegally.