Crime

Officers exchanged shots with suspect in Fairway as school across street let out

Highlands Elementary School on lockdown

Highlands Elementary School in Mission was placed on lockdown Friday afternoon and there was a large police presence in the area. Shots were reportedly fired from across the street from the school.
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Highlands Elementary School in Mission was placed on lockdown Friday afternoon and there was a large police presence in the area. Shots were reportedly fired from across the street from the school.

A suspect was injured after shots were exchanged with police outside a Fairway home near Highlands Elementary School Friday afternoon.

The shooting prompted the school to halt dismissal and bring students, parents and staff inside.

No officers were injured, but police said the suspect was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

Johnson County jail records online later showed a 26-year-old Fairway man was booked into the jail on suspicion of aggravated assault on law enforcement. Charges have not been filed.

The school initially went on lockdown after shots were heard outside the school. A school resource officer investigating the matter reported seeing a van at the school had been shot about 1:30 p.m., according to Overland Park Officer John Lacy, a police spokesman.

By 3 p.m., David Smith, a spokesman with the Shawnee Mission School District, said the lockdown was lifted and the school went ahead with dismissing students. According to the school’s website, it normally lets out at 3:10 p.m.

Then around 3:15 p.m., Lacy said police received two 911 calls from a home across the street.

“A lady comes out, advised her child had a firearm,” Lacy said. “Officers rushed over to the home. That’s when the gunfire was exchanged.”

Police have not released the suspect’s identity or age, and police said they are still investigating to see if there was a connection between the earlier shooting incident outside the school and the shooting at the home, which is located in the 4600 block of West 62nd Street.

Video captured by KCTV5 showed when officers exchanged gunfire with a person outside the home. A person can be seen coming out of the home across from the school with a gun while officers were outside. Audio indicates that multiple shots were fired and someone yells, “Hands up, get your hands up!”

No further details have been released about the incident by police.

In an email to parents, Mike Fulton, superintendent of the Shawnee Mission School District, emphasized that no students or staff were hurt at Highlands Elementary and that district and city police were called after staff members on the playground reported hearing gunfire early in the afternoon.

It said once the gunshots were investigated, the school proceeded with dismissal.

Fulton said during the dismissal process, the shooting occurred between police and the suspect. The school brought students, staff and parents back inside the school until police announced that the suspect had been arrested.

“I want to emphasize that students, staff and parents were kept safe. Students and staff acted exactly as we have trained during our safety drills,” Fulton said in the email. “I also want to thank both our local police department and our SMSD police officers for their guidance. This was a stressful situation, and everyone handled it professionally. Safety is our first priority and we will continue to do everything in our power to keep students and staff safe.”

The district said it will have social workers and guidance counselors at the elementary school Monday to provide support to students and staff.

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Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.


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