Police kill gunman after hours-long standoff in Kansas City

Kansas City police shot an armed man to death following a standoff that lasted more than four hours Wednesday morning.

At one point, the man reportedly stuck his head out of the front door and fired several shots at officers with a rifle.

About 20 minutes later, he ran out a back door, aiming the rifle at police. Officers, “fearing for their safety,” fired a volley of shots, said Capt. Tye Grant, a police spokesman.

The man fell on his weapon outside the home in the 3500 block of Bellefontaine Avenue. That delayed police from reaching him to see if he was still alive.

Police used a nozzle from an armored vehicle to hold him down until they could find a safe way to approach him. About 8:30 a.m., they reported he was dead.

They requested the department’s bomb and arson squad to report to the scene. As a precaution, they searched the home with a robot before sending in officers.

The man, whose name was not released, fired shots several times during the standoff. Several bullets struck an armored vehicle and caused significant damage, Grant said.

The incident began shortly before 3 a.m., when members of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force went to the house to execute a search warrant. Three people were inside at the time.

After task force members entered, someone inside fired shots at them. Task force members returned fire and backed outside. Police called for an Operation 100, a tactical response for when there is a barricaded person.

A woman surrendered, and task force members arrested a man.

Police tried to negotiate the surrender of the third person, but he refused to come out.

Neighbor Robert Wiggins said a loud crackle of gunfire woke him about 3 a.m.

“At first I thought it was firecrackers because the kids have been shooting them off already,” said Wiggins, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 25 years. “Then I heard a big bang. I figured it was a cannon.”

Wiggins and other neighbors emerged from their homes to see what was going on. Police quickly instructed them to go back inside.

“They said it wasn’t safe out here,” Wiggins said.

Another resident said he retreated to an upstairs bedroom and watched as police negotiators tried to convince the gunman to surrender. Police used tear gas to force him outside. That ignited gunfire from the house. After police pumped more tear gas inside, the man came out with the rifle. At least two officers fired at him.

The task force that tried to serve the search warrant included federal agents, Kansas City and Independence police, and the Jackson County Drug Task Force.

An agent with the DEA was injured when he fell while officers secured a perimeter around the house, said Karin Caito, a DEA spokeswoman.

This is the sixth fatal shooting by law enforcement in the metropolitan area this year:

Feb. 4: An Independence police officer killed Harless Scott, 47, of Kansas City, after a police chase ended in the Ruskin Heights area of Kansas City.

Feb. 24: Blue Springs police killed a suicidal 16-year-old boy who lured police to the 1500 block of Southwest 20th Street with a 911 call.

March 24: Federal agents and Kansas City police investigating serial robberies confronted robbers leaving a Blue Springs Walgreens. The law enforcement officers killed Jermon Seals, 22, of Shawnee, and arrested two other men nearby.

March 27: A Lee’s Summit police officer killed Jeffrey K. Lanahan, 34, at a domestic disturbance scene. Lanahan charged the officer while brandishing a large knife, police said.

May 24: A Cass County sheriff’s deputy killed Leslie Goletz, 57, of Englewood, Colo., after Goletz grabbed the deputy's stun gun during a scuffle, sheriff’s officials said. The deputy had been attempting to arrest Goletz, who was driving erratically.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar