WPD: 2018 homicide numbers due to more self-defense killings

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Wichita police investigated 44 homicides in 2018 and 38 in 2017. Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says two of those homicides in 2017 were justifiable and eight of them were justifiable in 2018.

He says it's in part to changed gun laws.

"The fact is that more people are carrying guns, you know, as in last week's incident at the gas station," said Chief Ramsay.

On Friday, Dec. 28, an armed customer shot and killed a 16-year-old when he and three other people tried to rob B & H Fast Trip on south Seneca.

Ramsay says rising self-defense homicide numbers don't concern him, but gun violence in general does.

"We see this pattern and our goal is to make it go downward, but it takes a community, it takes resources, it takes a lot more than just police to reduce those numbers," said Ramsay.

In 2018, a man entered an off-duty officer's home through an open garage door and shot the officer. The officer fired back, killing the man.

District Attorney Marc Bennett says the spike in self-defense shootings doesn't concern to him either, at least not yet.

"You can be a convicted felon in possession of a stolen firearm and still have the right to defend yourself," said Bennett.

Ramsay says those stolen guns are a concern.

"Keep in mind, our two officers that were shot this year. The off-duty Wichita officer was shot with a stolen gun, as well as a Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy that was shot and killed with a stolen gun."

Ramsay says this year his department will focus on new technology, like the shot spotter and a program where they can link stolen guns to violent crimes through shell casings.