Police investigate shooting at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe
A gunman shot three people in a packed Olathe bar on Wednesday, killing one and leading authorities on a manhunt that ended with the suspect’s arrest early Thursday in Henry County, Missouri.
Shots rang out about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at Austins Bar and Grill in south Olathe near 151st Street and Mur-Len Road. The suspect fled on foot.
A heavy police presence descended upon neighborhoods close to Austins, which is near Olathe South High School and the headquarters of Garmin Ltd.
At one point, authorities blocked off several intersections near 155th and Lindenwood, just south of where police had set up a command post at Scarborough Elementary School. Police in military-style vehicles and officers and camouflage gear were seen in the vicinity of a house near 155th and Lindenwood.
In the end, however, deputies with the Henry County sheriff’s office in Clinton, Mo., took the suspect into custody at 12:40 a.m. Thursday, according to a statement from Olathe police. Clinton is about 80 miles from Olathe and generally takes about 90 minutes to travel there by vehicle.
Olathe police did not release the names of the victims, all of them men. Police rendered aid to all three victims. One later died at a hospital.
Police also did not identify the suspect. Henry County authorities responded to a call for service early on Thursday and contacted the suspect of the shooting, according to Olathe police. Deputies in Henry County took the suspect into custody.
A man answering the phone at the Henry County sheriff’s office said inquiries about arrests would have to be made during business hours, and an online jail log did not reflect any arrests on charges related to a shooting on Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday, two of the victims had been listed in critical condition and one was seriously injured, Olathe Police Sgt. Logan Bonney said. Sources said two of the victims were of Middle Eastern or Indian descent.
Police told residents of south Olathe to shelter in place following the shooting, and Olathe South High School was reportedly locked down.
Canine units and a helicopter were being used in the search for the suspect, who had been described as a man in his 50s.
Witnesses said the suspect was in Austins drinking and making racial slurs. At one point, they said, one of the regulars stood up to the man.
Neighbors in the Scarborough neighborhood said the suspect may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He also may have recently been diagnosed with a serious illness.
Four hours after the shooting, investigators were inside the bar combing for evidence.
Tyler Lape, 23, of Olathe, was at the bar and left about five minutes before the shooting.
He said he thought a friend of his was among the injured, possibly shot in the shoulder and the hand.
Lape said the bar was packed with people watching the University of Kansas basketball game.
Lape was having a beer with his friend and left to go home and let his dogs out. Minutes later, he heard news of the shooting.
“I was just there, that’s impossible,” he thought.
By the time he got back, the bar was a crime scene.
Lape said he didn’t know why his friend would have been shot, and he is worried about him.
“He’s a really nice guy,” Lape said. “He would stick up for anybody. He’s not a guy who would start a fight.”
Garret Bohnen, a former employee at Austins, watched police work the crime scene from a car across the street from the bar. Bohnen said he was worried about the fate of his former coworkers, which includes a roommate.
The roommate called Bohnen after the incident.
“He said, ‘Yo, someone got shot,’ ” Bohnen said. “He said it three times over.”
Bohnen added the incident was frightening.
“It’s scary,” he said. “It’s a place I know. It’s like a miniature family. The regulars know us, and we know the regulars.”
Former University of Kansas football player Daymond Patterson II tweeted that a cousin once worked at the bar. Patterson, now a personal trainer for professional athletes, expressed disbelief about the shooting.
“Heard somebody randomly went into a restaurant my cousin used to work at in Olathe today and shoot (sic) it up,” Patterson wrote. “...Crazy world!”
The Star’s Judy L. Thomas, Laura Bauer and Ian Cummings contributed to this report.