Archive for Sunday, April 18, 2004

Topekan among wounded in Kosovo shootout

2 other Americans killed

April 18, 2004


— A former Topeka City Council member was among the wounded when a Jordanian police officer opened fire Saturday on a group of United Nations police officers at a prison in Kosovo, her husband said.

Beth Mechler was in a hospital intensive care unit recovering from a bullet wound to her femoral artery involving the groin, according to her husband, Topeka Police Lt. Randy Listrom.

Mechler, 44, and other U.N. officers were among a group of correctional officers including 21 Americans, two Turks and an Austrian who were leaving their first day of an assignment at a Kosovo prison when the police officer opened fire on them.

Two Americans were killed before the shooter was killed by officers returning fire. Ten Americans and an Austrian were wounded in Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia-Montenegro.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the shooting, which lasted about 10 minutes.

Listrom said his wife was riding in the same car as the two slain Americans.

Listrom said he had spoken to his wife by phone on Saturday. He was not sure if he would travel to Kosovo to be with her.

Mechler worked for Dyncorp, a private company that trains police, corrections and judicial officers who work in countries that include Kosovo and Iraq.

Mechler was a Topeka City Council member from 1991 to 1995 and was taking a one-year leave of absence from her job with the Corrections Department. She had worked as a special enforcement officer who focused on finding parole violators, Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Miskell said.

She went to help people in Kosovo because she cares, her husband said in a written statement.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.