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Headlines for Saturday, August 28, 2021

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I-435 Shut Down After Man Shoots Self Following Police Chase

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP/KPR) - Interstate 435 in Kansas City was shut down for several hours yesterday (FRI) after a man shot himself following a high-speed chase.  The Kansas City Star reports that police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call yesterday afternoon, chased the suspect from the site to Highway 71 to I-435, when the man jumped out of his vehicle and shot himself.  The man was hospitalized, but his injuries were not expected to be life-threatening.   Westbound traffic and several entrance ramps were shut down for several hours yesterday, re-opening just before rush hour.

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Most Kansas Students Required to Mask Up; COVID Closes Wellington District

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — More than half of Kansas students are now required to wear masks in school as the delta variant rages, leading to widespread quarantines and forcing the Wellington School District to call off classes because of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Wellington Unified School District 353 shut down all classes and sports because of multiple coronavirus outbreaks.  The district reported at least 40 positive cases within the first eight days of class at three of the district's six buildings. An Associated Press analysis found that 30 of the state’s 50 largest districts have mask mandates in place, with most passed in the last month. Those 30 districts educate a combined 262,585 of the state’s 476,435 public schoolchildren. Several other smaller districts also have mandated masks as well, including Atchison and Wamego. Most of the mandates require masks for all students. A handful, though, only require masks for students who are too young to be vaccinated.

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Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting KC Taxi Driver

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 20-year-old Kansas City man has admitted shooting a zTrip driver 26 times during a robbery. Derron Nevels pleaded guilty yesterday (FRI) in federal court to robbery and discharging a firearm during a violent crime. Prosecutors said the driver picked Nevels up on December 4th, 2018, and when they arrived at the destination, another person approached the vehicle while Nevels held a gun to the driver's head and demanded cash. When the driver and Nevels fought over the gun, the second person hit the driver and Nevels fired several shots at close range. The driver survived. Two women have pleaded guilty to helping Nevels after the robbery.

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Kansas Agency Faces Pressure to Prevent Evictions

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state agency is trying to process hundreds of applications for coronavirus relief funds from Kansas renters facing eviction and their landlords. The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation's push comes after it spent weeks this spring hiring more than 100 new employees to handle applications. It is handling the bulk of the emergency rental assistance in Kansas, and most of its dollars haven’t yet been distributed. Executive director Ryan Vincent said the agency is now finishing about 500 applications a week. The agency has distributed $31.9 million. That's 17% of the $188 million first installment of emergency aid. One tenants' advocate says the money is not going out quickly enough.

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Ruling: City Conviction Requires Sex Offender Registration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that a man’s municipal conviction for sexual battery requires him to register as a sex offender. The 5-2 decision yesterday (FRI) comes in the case of Asnake H. Adem, who was convicted in 2018 of sexual battery in violation of the Shawnee municipal code. At issue was whether the Legislature intended the Kansas Offender Registration Act to apply to those prosecuted under city ordinances. The Supreme Court ruled that Adem did need to register,  finding that the Shawnee ordinance is identical to the state statute. According to the ruling the conviction stems from an incident that occurred when he was driving a taxi late at night with a female passenger and repeatedly tried to embrace her.

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Hutchinson Man Sentenced in Police Gunfire Exchange

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson man who fired several rounds at Hutchinson police during a lengthy standoff has been sentenced to about 54 years in prison. Brendan Jones was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to eight counts of attempted first-degree murder and other charges. Prosecutors said the June 2019 standoff began after Jones shot and wounded another man. After five hours, he said he would surrender but then fired several times at officers from inside and outside the house. Police returned fire and Jones was hit eight times, including some graze wounds. No officers were injured.

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Wyandotte County Police Investigate Several Violent Crimes

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Wyandotte County authorities say a man's shooting death at a park might be part of a series of violent crimes. Five people were taken into custody after the shooting death of 30-year-old Skylar Needham at a Wyandotte County park on August 15th. Sheriff Don Ash said on Thursday the five are believed to be part of a group that has committed violent crimes in several cities on both sides of the state line. Three of the suspects were released and the other two remain in custody. Needham was found shot to death after his car crashed at the park. Ash said investigators have found no apparent link between Needham and the suspects.

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Police Arrest Inmate in Great Bend Jail Death

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested an inmate in a central Kansas jail suspected of causing the death of another inmate last month. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it arrested 27-year-old Jose Guadalupe Villegas, of Great Bend, on suspicion of second-degree murder in the July death of 46-year-old Scott Deines, also of Great Bend. Villegas was already in the Barton County jail serving a sentence on an unrelated firearms conviction when he was arrested. Investigators say Villegas injured Deines during a fight at the jail on July 22th, and jail staff found Deines unresponsive in his cell three days later. An autopsy showed Deines died of blunt force trauma to his head.

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