Farmer shoots, kills a wanted man in Sumner

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By Shane Farley
March 4, 2013 - 11:43:38 pm

A Sumner County farmer shot and killed a man - wanted for drug crimes in Iowa - following an incident Monday that began on the Kansas Turnpike.

Around 5:30 p.m., the unidentified farmer was confronted by the suspect, who was hiding in an outbuilding at a residence near the 800 block of E. 140th St. South, north of South Haven. The farmer was armed with a shotgun.

“The suspect was in the barn and basically attacked the farmer, cussed at him and said I’m going to kill you,” sheriff Darren Chambers said. “The farmer, with his son there as a witness, felt in fear of his life and used deadly force to protect himself.”

The suspect had been the subject of an extensive search earlier in the day when he failed to pay his toll on the Kansas Turnpike and authorities learned he was wanted.

Chambers said the suspect’s name is not being made public, so far. He was described as a 41-year-old white male.

He was not armed at the time of the incident.

The body of the deceased was removed from the rural property under the direction of the county coroner and will undergo an autopsy Tuesday in Wichita.

The farmer, who had been out burning off hedgerow when he noticed the suspicious man, was not taken into custody. Chambers said investigators have been in touch with the county attorney about the case and will forward findings to that office.

At this point, though, the farmer is not under suspicion of committing a crime.

The events leading to the shooting began earlier in the day, just before noon, when the suspect arrived at a turnpike toll booth with no money. Kansas Highway Patrol Troopers were called, however they could not locate the suspect.

His vehicle, which later was determined to be stolen, was recovered along the turnpike. Chambers thinks that the man may have run out of gas.

Authorities assumed the man fled and launched a search, which included air support from highway patrol aircraft.

Landowners in the area were alerted by authorities, who went door to door with information about the suspect, Chambers said. An ID the suspect left behind, led to the discovery he was wanted on drug charges in Iowa and had been known to carry weapons with him in the past - thus creating the potential he was armed and dangerous.

Authorities suspended their search around 3 p.m. Monday when they couldn’t locate the suspect.

“A lot of times these people will wait until it’s dark, steal a car and we’ll find it a couple days later in Texas,” Chambers said. “This guy didn’t wait and he got spotted.”

Just before 5 p.m., the farmer who would later fire the fatal shot, saw the man coming up the road near the farmer’s home. He approached the suspect and told him to wait there for authorities.

The suspect fled on foot and the farmer attempted to follow him in a vehicle. At that point, the farmer saw that the man was headed to a residence owned by relatives of the farmer.

The farmer arrived at that home and found it to be secure and learned no one was home. A check of the outbuildings led the farmer to the suspect and the fatal shot was fired.

Authorities were en route to the scene at the time the shooting occurred.

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