Wichita police release video of 3 fatal officer-involved shootings
Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says the public demands transparency and this is why he chose to release body-camera video from three office-involved shootings.
The videos are from incidents in 2017. In all three, the suspect was killed. In one of the shootings, WPD police K-9 “Rooster” was shot and killed by the suspect. All three also involved hostages. Eyewitness News edited portions of the videos due to the graphic nature. They were released in their entirety.
“It's clear the majority of the public wants these videos released so they can see for themselves and make their own opinions, especially when taxpayer money is funding these (cameras) at significant cost,” says Ramsay.
Police respond to a 911 call of a man threatening to kill a woman and himself. The woman had just escaped from the suspect before police arrived.
As they are talking to her, suspect Kevin Perry comes to the front porch of the home, but doesn’t follow police commands. That’s when officers deploy police K-9, “Rooster,” to keep the suspect from going back in the home.
Perry is seen on the video pulling his gun and firing at Rooster. Police immediately return fire, killing Perry. Although Rooster comes back to his fellow officers, he would later die from a bullet determined to be from Perry’s gun.
Police try to pull over Charles Johnston for a warrant, but he takes off, leading them on a multi-county chase.
In the video, Johnston fires at patrol cars and eventually stops in Sumner County. He pulls his girlfriend out of the car with a gun to her head.
Johnston fires at officers, but they were not hit.
The woman is released or escapes, and that’s when police open fire. Although the suspect was hit by police gunfire, an autopsy showed that the fatal shot came from his own gun.
The last shooting with the footage released by police also involves a hostage, this time taken at knifepoint.
Police respond to a 911 call and try to convince the suspect, Jose Ortiz, to surrender. But screams are heard coming from inside and police enter the home. They find Ortiz holding a woman with her hands tied and a knife to her back.
Despite attempts to calm Ortiz, police say he began to push the knife into the victim’s back.
That’s when an officer fires a single shot killing Ortiz. Police quickly work to remove the ties from the woman’s hands which can been seen in the video turning color from lack and circulation.
Ramsay wants the public to know these shootings affect everyone involved.
“It's easy in the comfort of your home to watch these and forget the impact these have on everyone.”
He says it’s also easy in hindsight to say things should have been differently, but tells us he doesn’t think anything should have been done differently in the videos released.
He says the impact on families, victims and the officers is hard to measure.
“In my experience with officers involved in these more often than not they are never the same.”
State law does not require departments release body camera video to the public, but Ramsay says he plans to release major incidents like police shootings. He says he has to work with city attorneys and the district attorney’s office before releasing them and that takes time which is why they are being released two years after the incidents.