Man charged in shooting near Highlands Elementary school was suicidal, records say

Johnson County man facing charges for shooting near elementary school

Dylan Christopher Ruffin made an appearance Monday before a Johnson County judge on video from the Johnson County Central Booking facility for the shooting Friday near Highlands Elementary School.
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Dylan Christopher Ruffin made an appearance Monday before a Johnson County judge on video from the Johnson County Central Booking facility for the shooting Friday near Highlands Elementary School.

Dylan Christopher Ruffin was suicidal and said he wished officers had killed him during a police shooting earlier this month in Fairway near an elementary school, according to court records released Wednesday.

Ruffin, 26, is charged in Johnson County District Court with three counts of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer and one count of criminal discharge of a firearm.

He is accused of shooting at Highlands Elementary School while classes were in session on March 1 and pointing a handgun at three police officers outside his front door.

The school initially went on lockdown about 1:30 p.m. after shots were heard outside the school. Bullets pierced a classroom window, struck an area near the roof and damaged a van parked in the school lot.

Police investigating the shooting learned authorities were called to a house across the street, in the 4600 block of West 62nd, the day before when a person was seen shooting a BB gun at a vehicle, court records said.

Officers initially observed that the gunfire may have come from the house. During that time, officers received two 911 hang-up calls from the home.

Officers met with a woman who said her son, Ruffin, was inside with a gun. The woman said she didn’t think he had any bullets. The woman was escorted out of the house and taken to a safe location while officers remained in front of the house, according to the court documents.

Officers repeatedly ordered Ruffin to exit the home.

Local news outlets with their cameras showed Ruffin emerging from the front door with a handgun. Court records said the gun was being pointed at officers.

While officers yelled at him to drop the gun, parents were picking up their children close by at Highlands Elementary. The school was letting out for the day after deciding to lift the lockdown.

Joshua Eckrich of Fairway wandered the playground at Highlands Elementary School on Saturday looking for bullet holes. On Friday, his daughter and her teacher were on the playground when gunshots rang out from a nearby house.

After giving orders, three of the officers opened fire on Ruffin.

Ruffin was hit by gunfire and was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening. He was soon taken into police custody and booked into the Johnson County jail.

After the shooting, officers saw Ruffin had a gun with a 30-round extended magazine. Court records said the gun appeared to be unloaded.

At the hospital, Ruffin talked about having the police kill him and said he wished they shot him in the head, court records said. He said he wished he hadn’t given up.

He also denied shooting at the school.

Police talked to Ruffin’s mother, who told them her son had been suicidal but was too scared to shoot himself. Her son said he would shoot the school to make someone else shoot him, she told police.

Ruffin had a gun and recently bought an extended magazine for it, she said. He had been practicing with it at local shooting ranges.

The mother said her son had a drug problem and had been using oxycodone, Xanax and heroin. On the day of the police shooting, the two had just returned home from a methadone clinic.

On the way home, she said, Ruffin asked her to stop at a store so he could buy bullets. She refused, she said, and it prompted an argument between the two. As they fought, she said Ruffin tried to call 911 on her phone.

Police walked through the home and saw 27 bullet holes in Ruffin’s upstairs bedroom.

The bullet holes, court records said, were in the direction of the elementary school.

Police found shell casings in the home, including some in a trash can.

They also found drug paraphernalia, including needles, bottles of medication and a bong, court records said.

Ruffin remains in the county jail with bond set at $500,000.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

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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.