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KBI: Shot that killed child in SE Kansas hostage incident was fired by police officer

Clesslynn Crawford
Clesslynn Crawford(Knell Mortuary)
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 12:32 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced Monday that 2-year-old Clesslynn Crawford was killed by a single gunshot fired by a Joplin Police officer during a hostage incident that happened March 26 in Baxter Springs.

At about 7:15 p.m. that Saturday, Baxter Springs police officers responded after a woman called 911, requesting help due to an ongoing domestic disturbance. The KBI said when officers arrived, they knocked on the door of the residence, a pull-behind camping trailer.

A man the KBI identified as 37-year-old Eli Crawford of Baxter Springs answered the door but slammed it shut after seeing it was police, the KBI said. The KBI said Crawford’s daughter, a 2-year-old girl, then reopened the door and a 27-year-old woman ran outside.

Crawford killed the woman and then exchanged fire with officers, firing an estimated 90+ rounds. When officers approached the trailer, they found Crawford and the 2-year-old girl both deceased inside.

In its findings Monday, the KBI said Taylor Shutte, 27, was killed just outside of the camping trailer after she was struck by multiple gunshots fired by Eli Crawford. It is believed that Crawford died of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound. The investigation indicates that 2-year-old Clesslynn Crawford died as a result of the single round fired by an officer from the Joplin Police Department.

The investigation is ongoing. The KBI is asking the public for patience as agents work the case. The incident is being thoroughly and independently investigated. Once it concludes, the findings will be presented to the Cherokee County Attorney to determine if criminal charges will be filed.

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