Crime

Police ID man killed by officers in shootout in KCK; search for his wife continues

Update: Police on Wednesday said Sylvia Ussery-Pearson’s body was found in Arkansas. That story is posted here.

A man who was killed in a shootout with police Tuesday near the Legends shopping center in Kansas City, Kansas, has been identified as Charles Roy Pearson.

Kansas City, Kansas, police officers shot Pearson, 51, after he allegedly fired several shots at them with what police described as an assault-style rifle.

Police had been called to the area after the man, later identified as Pearson, entered a nearby hotel and reportedly told employees that he had killed his wife, according to witnesses.

“He said, ‘I just murdered my wife, I’m heavily armed and very dangerous,’ and he said, ‘I’m going to the Legends you better call the police,’” said Jacob Honeycutt, manager of the nearby Country Inn Suites.

Officers encountered the man just south of the intersection of Village West Parkway and State Avenue. When officers made contact with Pearson, he raised an assault-style rifle, said Officer Jonathon Westbrook, a Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman.

Officers tried to convince Pearson to put the gun down, but he fired “several shots” at the officers, Westbrook said. Officers returned fire, killing Pearson.

It was unclear how many bullets Pearson allegedly fired at officers, or how many officers shot back.

The shooting remained under investigation by the police departments in Kansas City, Kansas, and Topeka.

Wife reported missing

As police were investigating the shooting, Westbrook said another agency was looking for Pearson’s wife.

Hours before police encountered Pearson, the Overland Park Police Department issued a news release asking for the public’s help in locating Sylvia Anne Ussery-Pearson, who left her home Monday morning and did not return.

Her disappearance is “extremely out of character for her,” and her family was concerned, Overland Park police said.

Ussery-Pearson, 49, was described as being 5-foot-7-inches tall and weighing 146 pounds.

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Sylvia Ussery-Pearson, 49, left her home in Overland Park Monday morning and did not return. Overland Park Police Department

Earlier Tuesday, Lenexa police assisting Overland Park police temporarily staged a perimeter around a home near 82nd Terrace and Constance Street.

Overland Park police spokesman John Lacy said Lenexa police were holding the house in relation to the search for Ussery-Pearson.

A Lenexa police vehicle remained parked in front of the house Tuesday night.

As part of the investigation, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office searched a rural property south of Harrisonville along with Overland Park police, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the FBI, but left after about two hours.

Lt. Craig McMein, a sheriff’s office spokesman, said no evidence had been found.

Anyone with information on Ussery-Pearson’s whereabouts was asked to call Overland Park police at 913-344-8750.

Past criminal charge

An online records search through Johnson County District Court shows Pearson was charged last year with one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property.

The charge stemmed from an incident in Lenexa on Oct. 8, 2018, when Pearson allegedly broke a mirror, according to the charging documents. It also references a person by the name of Sylvia Pearson.

Charles Pearson was booked into the Johnson County jail and was released the next day after posting bond. He was ordered to have no contact with Sylvia Pearson for 72 hours after bonding out, court records showed.

Charles Pearson was also ordered to not own or possess any firearms or ammunition, the records show.

Online court records indicate a diversion agreement in the case was signed Nov. 28, 2018.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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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.
Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.
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