National News

2 Deputies in Kansas Are Fatally Shot While Transporting Inmates

Posted June 16, 2018 1:07 p.m. EDT

Two sheriff’s deputies in Kansas who were shot while transporting inmates from a jail to a court hearing Friday died of their injuries, police in Kansas City, Kansas, said Saturday.

Officials said Friday that it appeared the deputies were shot with one of their own weapons.

“When they pulled into the parking lot and readied to transport these inmates, they were overcome,” Maj. Kelli Bailiff, a spokeswoman for the Wyandotte County sheriff’s office, said at a news conference Friday. “It is very possible that with their own firearm they were both shot.”

A suspect was also shot and brought to the University of Kansas Medical Center, officials said. Police did not release any information about the suspect’s condition other than to say Friday that the person was undergoing surgery.

The deputies, Patrick Rohrer, 35, and Theresa King, 44, were taken to the same hospital. Rohrer, a seven-year veteran of the office, died of his injuries Friday. King died early Saturday morning. She had been with the office for 13 years.

“She always had a smile on her face. Always. Just a sweetheart,” Keeley Hanson, a bartender who frequently chatted with King and her colleagues at Chicago’s, one of their regular hangouts, told KSHB.

The shooting happened around 11:30 a.m. in the courthouse parking lot, outside of the vehicle used to transport the inmates, said Terry Zeigler, chief of the Kansas City Police Department, which is leading the investigation.

The deputies were the only law enforcement officials transporting the inmates Friday, police said. It was unclear how many inmates were being transported.

It was not immediately clear what went wrong Friday.

When inmates are brought to court for a hearing, they are typically taken in a van by two deputies, Bailiff said. “Most of them are handcuffed and shackled,” she said of the inmates.

After arriving at the parking lot behind the courthouse, they enter a gated area, which is then locked, Bailiff said. The deputies then exit the van and take the inmates into the courthouse.

The Kansas City Police Department and the Wyandotte County sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday.

News of the shooting prompted an outpouring of condolences. Gov. Jeff Colyer said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened.”

“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line each and every day to protect the public and their selfless service deserves our highest honor,” the statement said.

The Kansas City Royals held a moment of silence before their game against the Astros on Friday.

The Kansas City Police Department offered its condolences on Facebook on Saturday. “No words could explain the feelings and emotions you feel,” it said.