Officers de-escalate dangerous situation along highway during rush hour

Publish Date 03/19/2021
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Kansas City Missouri Police kept a dangerous situation from turning deadly after an encounter with an armed and impaired driver on a major highway exit ramp during rush hour Friday morning.

At about 7 a.m., drivers reported a man in an SUV appeared unconscious behind the wheel on the ramp from northbound 71 Highway to Bannister Road. When officers got to the vehicle, they saw a man in the driver’s seat leaned back, and he appeared to be asleep. They saw his foot was on the brake, and the SUV was still in drive. The man also had a handgun on his lap, and his hand was resting on top of the gun.

Rather than confront the suspect and create a potentially deadly confrontation, the officers followed their de-escalation training by backing away and asking for additional resources. Many other officers responded to block traffic in all directions. Police did not want to risk a passerby being shot. Officers tried several times to wake the man in the SUV up, using their public address system, sirens and air horns. When that failed, they backed off further and deployed a drone to keep an eye on the man.

Just after 8 a.m., the man began to move around and awaken. Officers gave him commands through the public address system. After initially raising his hands as instructed, he took off at a high rate of speed westbound on Bannister. Fortunately, officers were prepared for that possibility and had put down Stop Sticks, a brand of tire deflation device. The suspect struck the Stop Sticks, then turned north on Troost. He tried to turn left onto 84th Street, almost striking two vehicles and a school bus. Due to the public danger and the fact his tires were disintegrating, police stopped pursuing the SUV. They kept an eye on it, however.

The driver eventually pulled into a parking lot. When he saw officers pull in behind him, he took off running. Officers quickly caught up to him and got him into custody with no further incident. No one was injured. The suspect appeared to be impaired. He had a small digital scale and a white powdery substance in his possession that tested positive for cocaine in a presumptive test. The suspect also is a convicted felon. He remains in custody on investigation of multiple offenses.