Crime

Off-duty officer cleared in Lenexa Costco self-defense shooting

The police officer who shot and killed an armed man who was threatening customers at the Costco in Lenexa acted appropriately and bravely, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe ruled Wednesday.

Capt. Michael Howell of the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department was visiting the store while off duty on Nov. 26 when Ronald Hunt began threatening to shoot and kill customers.

Howell, who had his service weapon with him, saw Hunt’s gun and heard his threats. He identified himself as a police officer and ordered Hunt to drop his weapon. Hunt refused and acted aggressively toward the officer, Howe said in a statement. Howell shot Hunt.

Neither Howell nor any customers or store employees were injured.

“It is our conclusion that the off-duty officer acted in accordance with Kansas law as it pertains to self-defense or defense of another,” Howe’s statement said. “Therefore, no charges will be filed against the officer in connection with this incident.

“It is our belief that this officer acted with extreme courage, and saved an unknown amount of innocent lives by his actions inside the Costco warehouse on Nov. 26.”

Lenexa Police Chief Thomas Hongslo and Kansas City, Kansas Police Chief Terry Zeigler announced they will hold a joint press conference Thursday.

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