Crime

Mother says son killed by U.S. marshals on I-35 was in ‘wrong place at the wrong time’

Patrick Pippin and his mother, Lura Patton.
Patrick Pippin and his mother, Lura Patton. Courtesy of Lura Patton

A Shawnee man fatally shot Thursday by the U.S. Marshals Service after a vehicle pursuit apparently was not the subject of the federal investigation that sparked the pursuit.

Police and federal agents were preparing to serve a search warrant at a Gladstone residence Thursday morning when they saw Patrick Pippin drive away from the area with a male passenger.

When officers tried to pull him over, Pippin fled. The ensuing pursuit ended on Interstate 35 in Kansas City, Kan., where Pippin was fatally shot.

On Monday, Pippin’s mother said her son was not even at the house being investigated. He had been at a neighboring house to sell a cellphone, she said.

“My son was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Lura Patton said.

Patton said her son fled from law enforcement because he was on parole, didn’t have a driver’s license and there was a gun in his vehicle. Neither her son nor his passenger was associated with the house being searched, she said.

“He knew that if he got pulled over he would go to jail,” she said. “But at the end of the day, he was not who they were looking for.”

Officials said Monday they could not comment on the case because the investigation is ongoing.

The residents of the target house were Michael Bellinghausen, 32, and his girlfriend, Tara Childress, 30, according to documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. Prosecutors charged them with being illegal drug users in possession of firearms.

Investigators had been trying to solve several armed robberies of pharmacies during which the robbers took large amounts of the painkiller oxycodone. Part of the investigation involved allegations that Bellinghausen was printing phony prescriptions being used by others to obtain supplies of the drug.

Pippin is not mentioned in the affidavit that names Bellinghausen, Childress and others connected to the investigation.

According to the documents, items seized during the search of the Gladstone house included heroin, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and packaging materials, computers and a printer with specialty paper used to print medical prescriptions, two combat-style shotguns, three handguns and ammunition.

Although Pippin, 30, had a long criminal record and recently had been paroled from a Missouri prison, his mother said he was working to turn his life around and was planning to marry his girlfriend.

Patton described him as a kind and giving person who would help anyone in need.

“Just because somebody has been in trouble before doesn’t make them a monster,” Patton said.

Officials have not provided details of the fatal shooting of Pippin. The FBI, which is investigating the shooting because it involved federal officers, said in a written statement on Thursday: “The armed suspect exited his vehicle, at which time the U.S. Marshals in an attempt to take the suspect into custody, exited their vehicle and gunfire ensued.”

In a cellphone video recorded by a motorist that shows the end of the pursuit, Pippin is seen falling to the ground after the vehicle strikes a concrete barrier. Two items also fall from the vehicle. Pippin appears to pick up one as he gets up. He then disappears from view as gunshots are heard.

Patton said her son never hurt anyone and would not be stupid enough to point a gun at police.

She said he was shot 10 times. She described the incident as “very concerning.”

“They didn’t have to kill him,” she said.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments