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Sedgwick County DA: Wichita officers justified in May 2019 deadly shooting

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Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 3:42 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - In a 28-page review of the case, reviewing investigation details and citing state law, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett on Monday announced that two officers who fired shots that fatally wounded a man involved in a May 23, 2019 standoff at a south Wichita apartment complex, won’t face criminal charges.

Fifty-six-year-old Fred Burton died after the standoff at MacArthur’s Lake Apartments in the 700 block of west MacArthur. When officers arrived on the scene, they encountered a man firing weapons from his apartment.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said Burton fired “well over 30 shots.” This included shots into other apartments. Police called in SWAT assistance to help evacuate people living in nearby buildings.

During the standoff, police said Burton started shooting at officers. Two returned fire, striking and killing him. No one else was injured.

“The investigation established that Fred Burton fired dozens of rounds (over 30) through the interior walls of his apartment. When officers arrived and evacuated as many residents from the immediate area as possible, they attempted to contact Mr. Burton to convince him to leave his apartment unharmed,” Bennett wrote in his review of the case. “(Burton) responded with obscene gestures and refused to communicate further. After their efforts to convince Mr. Burton to surrender himself were unsuccessful, they introduced smoke into the apartment in order to force him to come out. He responded by firing his rifle multiple times at the officers. The officers returned fire, killing Mr. Burton.”

Under the circumstances, Bennett concluded, “the officers are immune from prosecution under Kansas law.”

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