Family of fatally wounded gunman hoping, praying injured WPD officer pulls through

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 9:51 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As fellow officers and members of the community gathered for a vigil for a critically injured Wichita Police Department officer, Eyewitness News on Monday, June 21, also heard from the family of the man police say shot the officer and fired at others before being shot by police and dying at the scene of the Saturday night call in southwest Wichita.

A still frame from body camera footage shows 28-year-old Tyler Hodge holding a gun. Police said when officers approached him, he fired at them, and Hodge was later shot and killed. Investigators said Hodge had previous mental health issues. Monday night, Eyewitness News spoke with Hodge’s cousin about trying to process what happened.

“That’s the most painful day that I’m going to have to endure,” Tyler Hodge’s cousin Courtney Hodge said about the call that led to an officer’s critical injury and a close family member’s death.

Courtney said she spoke with Tyler a few hours before Saturday night’s shooting. She said how that conversation ended alerted her that something was wrong.

“Normally when he said he loved me, I would know that something was up and he had discussed some problems he was having,” she said.

Courtney said she would be there for Tyler when he was having issues. She said she would listen and had been trying to help him.

“More demons had been expressed to me than I knew he was dealing with and it all sums up to where he felt he was alone,” she said.

Courtney said Tyler “is not a monster.”

“I know he hurt somebody,” she said.

Courtney said she wants to see the officer injured Saturday night recover.

“I hope and pray that officer pulls through because I don’t want that on Tyler and I don’t want someone else to mourn and grieve,” she said.

Courtney also encourages people to take mental illness seriously.

“People need to stop turning away from when people talk. They need to pay attention,” she said.

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