Prosecutors mull charges in Kansas officer's shooting death

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Posted: May 10, 2016 5:31 PM
Prosecutors mull charges in Kansas officer's shooting death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man suspected of gunning down a police detective in Kansas was charged Tuesday with shooting and wounding a woman in a botched carjacking in Missouri moments before he was shot by police and captured.

Prosecutors in Kansas' Wyandotte County still were weighing charges against Curtis Ayers in the shooting death of Brad Lancaster, a 39-year-old detective who was killed while responding to a report of a suspicious person near a casino. Chris Schneider, a spokesman for the Wyandotte County prosecutor, said charges in Lancaster's death likely would come Wednesday.

The intentional killing of a police officer carries a possible death sentence in Kansas.

In Missouri, Jackson County prosecutors charged Ayers with first-degree assault, resisting arrest, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and three counts of armed criminal action. Prosecutors requested a $250,000 cash bond for the 28-year-old Tonganoxie, Kansas, man, who police said was hospitalized in stable condition.

Court documents included with the charges allege that Ayers, when ultimately cornered by police after Lancaster's death, shot and wounded a woman during an attempted carjacking and fired at another motorist before being shot by an officer.

Ayers served prison time in Kansas in recent years for convictions involving child abandonment, fleeing or trying to elude law enforcers, and interference with a law enforcement officer, online Kansas Department of Corrections records show. Court records say he also was charged in North Carolina with offenses including misdemeanor theft, possession of stolen goods and burglarizing vehicles.

Lancaster was shot Monday afternoon near the Kansas Speedway racetrack in Kansas City, Kansas, police said. Lancaster, an Air Force veteran and married father of two daughters, died three hours later after undergoing surgery, his department said.

Ayers was arrested after he crashed a car into a concrete bridge support during a police chase and tried to hijack a woman's vehicle, authorities say. Tuesday's court filings allege Ayers fired twice at the woman's car, wounding her, before shooting once at another vehicle.

The wounded motorist's injuries weren't considered life-threatening, and she was in stable condition Tuesday, police said.

Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman Patrick McCallop said Ayers was believed to have frequented the Hollywood Casino and he's not sure what prompted someone there to report him as acting suspiciously.

"From what I heard, it's not like he lost money" at the casino that day, McCallop said. "I'm not sure if (the casino) just felt something different about him" and felt compelled to report it.

Casino spokeswoman Karen Bailey Chapman said the call to police about the allegedly suspicious-looking person came from a Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission officer there. A message left Tuesday with the commission's spokesman, Fred Waller, was not immediately returned.

Police said the assailant shot Lancaster and fled in Lancaster's unmarked car. He later hijacked a vehicle with two children inside before abandoning that in nearby Basehor, Kansas, leaving the children unharmed, police said. He then commandeered a third vehicle that crashed moments before Ayers' capture.

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Associated Press researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.