Crime

Alleged shooter in slaying of Wyandotte deputies may face death penalty, DA says

Wyandotte District Attorney Mark A. Dupree announced Friday that his office has charged Antoine Fielder with two counts of capital murder in the horrific shooting deaths of two sheriff's deputies while they were transporting Fielder following a court hearing in downtown Kansas City, Kan.

Capital murder in Kansas carries the possibility of the death penalty. Capital punishment is rarely used in Kansas; no one has been executed since 1965 and there are currently 10 capital punishment inmates at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

Fielder also faces a count of aggravated robbery, stemming from an accusation that Fielder took a gun from a deputy before shooting him.

Deputies Theresa King and Patrick Rohrer were shot to death last Friday while they were taking Fielder, 30, and another inmate back to jail following a court hearing in Division 9, which is in the Wyandotte County Correctional and Court Services. The court services building is across the street from the jail and requires two deputies to escort inmates in a van.

"Deputies King and Rohrer represent the best in all of us," Dupree said. "The sacrifice that they made and all of those that are in law enforcement, sacrifices they make on a daily basis, it separates them from being good people to being special people."

"We appreciate the sacrifices that they made and the sacrifices law enforcement make on a daily basis," he said.

Fielder's bond is set at $2 million. His first court appearance has not yet been set. Fielder is expected to return soon to the Wyandotte County Jail, Dupree said.

Authorities said Fielder allegedly overpowered a deputy, took Rohrer's gun and began shooting at both Rohrer and King. Rohrer died after being rushed to the University of Kansas Hospital. King died later that evening.

At least one of the deputies returned fire at Fielder and shot him multiple times. Fielder was hospitalized for several days after the shooting. On Wednesday, he was released from the hospital and booked into the Johnson County Jail.

Deputies King and Rohrer had been preparing to escort Fielder back from a motion hearing at the court services building for an earlier robbery charge.

Dupree said there were no disruptions or incidents that occurred during the hearing.

Don Ash, the Wyandotte County sheriff, thanked the community for the tremendous outpouring of support in response to the slayings.

"We are profoundly sad," Ash said. "We will move forward from this incident and we will continue to do what it is we do every day."

Dupree said there's no evidence that Fielder had any assistance in the alleged shooting.

A public funeral service for the two slain deputies was held Thursday at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Details of what led to the shooting, which was investigated by Kansas City, Kan., police, have not been released. Dupree, asked about the circumstances that led to the shooting, said an investigation into the matter was ongoing.

Fielder had been booked into the Wyandotte County Jail on Jan. 3 in relation to the robbery charge and a number of charges from a separate case.

Fielder also faces murder charges in Jackson County where he's accused of killing a woman in Kansas City last year.

Before his arrest in January, Fielder had been free for a few months after facing two trials on a murder charge stemming from the 2015 death of an Overland Park woman. Both trials ended in a mistrial after juries were unable to reach a unanimous agreement.

The second trial, Dupree said, resulted in a jury where 10 members believed Fielder was not guilty and two jurors voting in favor of guilty.

"We will do our best to bring justice and to make sure that Rohrer and King and their families receive some type of justice from this," Dupree said.

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