A van carrying a man thought to be a homicide suspect led police on a chase on U.S. 169 and Interstate 435 at speeds exceeding 100 mph and into the wrong highway lanes around noon Thursday.
The van spun out of control on southbound Interstate 35 near 143rd Street about 12:15 p.m. The van landed facing officers. Police shot him, and he sustained injuries that were not life threatening, said police Capt. Stacey Graves.
The suspect was immediately surrounded by a swarm of police and taken into custody. At least 40 police vehicles ended up at the scene.
A woman in the van also was taken into custody. She surrendered, getting out of the van with her hands up.
In a statement, Graves, the police spokeswoman, said the driver intentionally ran other cars off the road; went the wrong way on the highway, purposely driving at oncoming cars, and drove at police who were chasing him.
“The suspect’s actions put many lives in danger for many miles along the roadways,” Graves wrote.
The southbound lanes of I-35 south of the I-435 interchange in Claycomo were expected to be closed until 5 p.m.
The chase began when police tried to stop the driver for speeding, Graves said in a briefing with reporters.
Authorities repeatedly warned in radio traffic that the suspect in the van was “armed and dangerous.” The van had been tagged with a tracking device.
The chase began north of Smithville and sped south on U.S. 169 into Kansas City, North, at least once reversing the wrong way in the northbound lanes, then continuing onto Interstate 435 where it weaved across the median several times between east and westbound lanes.
Several times the van weaved through oncoming highway traffic while in the wrong lanes. The danger of the situation became extreme, police said.
“We’re going to use whatever force to get this guy stopped,” one of the pursuing officers said.
“He’s all over the road,” said another. “I can’t tell you what lane to be in, so just watch yourself.”
“Guys be careful,” a radio operator repeated. “He’s wanted for murder. He’s armed and dangerous.”
Police deployed stop sticks on I-435 as the van passed 108th Street, but the van continued driving on rims for several miles before it spun out traveling south on I-35. Police followed in force.
“Cars and SWAT guys get up here,” an officer said at the scene. “Bring it. Bring it.”
A dispatcher warned: “He’s supposed to have body armor and guns.”
Several groups of officers massed behind police vehicles with guns aimed on the van. The woman who had been inside walked out with her hands in the air. Police soon advanced on the van to apprehend the wounded suspect.
Police in Kansas City, Kan., confirmed that a person of interest in the homicide investigation was taken into custody from the chase scene.
The homicide happened shortly before 4 a.m. Thursday. Police found a man shot dead in a pickup truck near 10th and Ivandale streets.
The victim was driving a pickup north on 10th Street when he was shot. A witness told police that the truck was drifting slowly up the street straddling the center line. The witness checked out the truck and noticed the wounded man, according to Officer Tom Tomasic, a spokesman for Kansas City, Kan., police.
When officers arrived, they found the truck stopped in the middle of the street. The victim was taken to a hospital where he later died.
Witnesses told police that they heard several gunshots, according to media reports. The victim was thought to be in his mid-50s.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).