Headlines for Sunday, April 24, 2016
Federal Agents Wounded in Topeka Shootout
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) Authorities say three federal agents suffered non-life-threatening injuries in a shootout while trying to make an arrest at a Topeka motel. The FBI says two U.S. marshals and an FBI agent suffered non-life-threatening injuries Saturday night at the Country Club Motel on Southwest Topeka Boulevard. A fourth law enforcement officer also suffered some kind of injury in the gunfight. It's unclear whether that officer was a local law enforcement officer or a federal agent. All four law enforcement officers were taken to hospitals. The FBI says a task force descended on the motel shortly before 10 pm Saturday, trying to locate the suspect -- 28-year-old Orlando Collins, a robbery suspect who's is listed on the state's most wanted list. While stationed outside what authorities believed to be the suspect's motel room, shots were fired from inside the room, injuring the officers. A fire broke out at the motel during the shootout. The fire raged for about three hours before firefighters could douse the flames. Firefighters say the motel was a total loss. After the fire was extinguished, authorities discovered a body inside the same motel room where Collins was suspected to have been hiding from authorities. An FBI crime team remains on the scene this (SUN) afternoon, sifting through the charred debris of the motel. Other guests were staying in the motel at the time, but a bystander who said she was a witness to Saturday night's gunfight and fire told KPR News that those guests were evacuated from the motel before the fire began.
Topeka Man Charged for Assaulting and Dragging Police Officer
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A 24-year-old Topeka man faces charges accusing him of dragging a police officer during a traffic stop.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Dyllon Alan Tucker is charged with aggravated kidnapping and other charges stemming from the incident April 14. Authorities said the officer stopped an SUV driven by Tucker, who then assaulted the officer and drove away, dragging the officer who had her arm in the car. As she was pulled down the street, the officer opened fire and wounded Tucker.The officer was treated at a hospital and released.The charges against Tucker were filed late Tuesday and became public Friday.
It's unclear if Tucker has a lawyer. He's being held in the Shawnee County Jail on a $500,000 surety bond.
No Elevated Lead Levels Found in Olathe's Ridgeview South Neighborhood
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - Officials in a Kansas City suburb say tests show there are no elevated lead levels in water in a neighborhood that showed potentially high levels earlier. The city of Olathe said in a news release Friday that tests conclusively show no elevated lead levels in the Ridgeview South neighborhood area water system. The Kansas City Star reports Olathe warned residents earlier this week of possible high lead levels in a water line that was replaced last summer. City officials said the test could be a false positive, but distributed bottled water to residents and conducted more tests on water from taps at 105 houses in the neighborhood. On Friday, the city announced that lab tests of 79 water samples showed no elevated lead. More tests are being conducted.
KU Minority Students Seeking Changes in Student Government
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Minority students at the University of Kansas are pushing for an independent governing body to represent their interests - and have won recognition and funding to start the long process that could let them do so. Students insist they're not trying to set up a wholly separate student government. But they are frustrated by what they see as a lack of attention to issues they care about. They want a structure that focuses on social justice issues and multicultural students, with programs such as longer orientations for some students or funding for those with financial emergencies. They say it would complement the work of the traditional student government. Experts see the novel approach as the latest example of the impatience minority students feel after generations of exclusion from campus government.
Tornado Weather Raises Alarm Questions
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Meteorologists are finding that it's easier to forecast stormy weather than it is to predict what goes on in the human mind. As the nation's midsection braces itself for possible tornadoes Tuesday, researchers have yet to determine when to raise a general alarm. With too much notice, people might try to flee in their cars, putting them at greater risk. For now, the Storm Prediction Center is reminding people in general that it's late April and tornado season is upon us. Forecasters suggest cleaning out the storm shelter and buying a weather radio - but get some gas for the chain saw just in case. The center is telling emergency officials a severe weather outbreak is possible across Oklahoma on Tuesday, with storms also from Dallas to Wichita, Kansas.
Former Cowboy Randle Won't Be Released on Bail
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas judge has declined a request to change the bond conditions for former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle.
The Wichita Eagle reports that Randle's attorney sought to change the conditions so that Randle would be released to the care of family instead of the NFL Players Association and NFL security.NFL lawyers said the league doesn't want to be liable for transporting Randle to an inpatient mental treatment facility if he's released on bail.Sedgwick County Judge Kevin O'Connor cited previously approved changes to Randle's bond conditions in declining the latest request Friday.Randle is awaiting a preliminary hearing on February charges including aggravated battery. Police say he backed his car into three people while leaving a party. The Cowboys released Randle last year.
Kansas Supreme Court Denies Liability in Death of Elderly Woman
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the state is not liable for the death of an 83-year-old woman who died months after being assaulted in her home by an escaped prisoner. Christopher Zorn, an inmate at Norton Correctional Facility, walked away from the prison in 2008. Authorities say he went to the home of Helen Keiswetter and assaulted her. Authorities also say injuries she sustained in the assault led to her death months later.Zorn was later arrested in Denver and pleaded guilty to several charges.The Topeka Capital Journal reports that lower courts ruled the state wasn't liable for Zorn's escape. In a unanimous ruling Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court agreed and said prison employees are considered police and are granted similar protection from liability.
Stanton County Crash Kills Colorado Woman
JOHNSON, Kan. (AP) - A 45-year-old Colorado woman has died in a crash in southwestern Kansas.The Kansas Highway Patrol says Brenda Lasley of Springfield, Colorado, died Friday afternoon in the two-vehicle head-on crash in Stanton County. The patrol says the accident occurred when the vehicle Lasley was in crossed the center line and collided with a semi pulling a trailer. The Hutchinson News reports that the semi driver was taken to a hospital for injuries sustained in the crash.
State of Kansas Welcomes Commercial Drones
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A national analysis says Kansas is in the bottom third of states with the fewest exemptions allowing businesses to use drones in their operations. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has approved 24 Kansas businesses to fly drones. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International says its analysis of more than 3,000 exemptions nationwide found that of states bordering Kansas, only Nebraska, with 17, has fewer exemptions. The exemptions allow companies to operate drones for commercial use until the FAA issues final rules on small unmanned aerial systems, which are drones weighing 55 pounds or less. Some drone-related business owners say industry isn't taking off in Kansas as quickly as they had expected. But a state official says the fledging industry is important to Kansas.