Man suspected of shooting and wounding 2 deputies has died
MANKATO, Kan. (AP) — A man suspected of shooting and wounding two Kansas deputies Tuesday and then turning the gun on himself has died, and investigators are try to unravel a motive for the shooting.
One of the wounded deputies has been released from the hospital, and the other is out of surgery and in stable condition.
Jason L. Whitson of Mankato, 40, walked up to the dispatch desk at the Jewell County Sheriff’s Office at about 7:53 a.m. and requested to talk to a deputy, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a news release. As a deputy approached to speak with him, Whitson fired multiple times through a door that led to the dispatch room. No law enforcement officers fired their weapons.
Whitson then fled from the office. Sheriff’s office personnel recognized Whitson, setting off a search for him and the vehicle he was presumed to be driving, the KBI said.
Jewell County Attorney Darrell Miller said in a phone interview that Whitson does not have a criminal history in the county, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is trying to determine what led to the shooting.
“At this point it is just really a mystery, Miller said. “There really wasn’t an altercation, in neither one of those instances. He just walked in and essentially opened fire.”
A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper spotted his vehicle at 8:45 a.m. about 35 miles (55 kilometers) southeast of Mankato and pursued him for another 20 miles (30 kilometers). His vehicle stopped just south of Minneapolis where a woman and five minor children were allowed to exit before he took off again.
A trooper used a maneuver that forced the vehicle to stop, and troopers found him inside itsuffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No law enforcement officers at this scene fired their weapons, the KBI said.
Whitson was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Mankato is about 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Wichita.