09/29/2006

Man shot by Kan. police called 911 to report himself

The Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan.- A 19-year-old man shot by police had called 911 to report himself, saying a suspicious person was on the street with a gun and giving the dispatcher a detailed description of himself, police said Friday.

Police stopped short of saying that Thursday afternoon's shooting was an apparent "suicide by cop" attempt, although several early findings appear to point to it.

"It is hard to know what is going on in the man's mind," Gordon Bassham, assistant to the police chief, said Friday. "We wouldn't know anything until we interview him further, until he recovers further. He is expected to recover."

When police responded to the call Thursday afternoon, the man lifted his shirt to show officers what looked like a gun in his waistband. He then ignored police warnings as he raised it slowly to eye level and pointed it at one of the officers, Bassham said.

Both officers fired and the man was struck once in the stomach area, police said. Multiple shots were fired, Deputy Chief Tom Stolz said.

It turned out that he was actually holding a silver replica of a gun, Bassham said.

Wichita police declined to release the man's name until charges are filed, which is expected to happen next week. Police said the man's was in fair condition Friday at Wesley Medical Center.

On the way to the hospital, the man told a police officer and paramedics that he had ingested some drain cleaner, Bassham said. Police found some drain cleaner at his home.

The teen, a known gang member, had a cast on his leg from a shooting two weeks earlier in the parking lot of a Wichita shopping center, Bassham said. No charges were brought against him as a result of that shooting.

Both officers, whom Stolz declined to name, were put on administrative leave, the standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, Stolz said. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is leading the inquiry.

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