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Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Topeka police shoot, kill suspect after chase

August 30, 2006

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— A Topeka man was shot to death Monday after leading police on a traffic chase, the city's second deadly shooting by officers in nine months.

The man was identified by police Tuesday as Gregory R. Eilert, 45, of Topeka. He was the fourth person to be shot by Topeka police over the nine-month span.

Eilert died at a hospital after being shot around 9:45 a.m. Monday at a busy intersection in southwest Topeka.

Police said the chase began after an officer responding to a report of a domestic disturbance was struck and threatened by the man, who was violating a protection from abuse order.

Other officers joined in the pursuit, which led to the intersection where the man was shot. Traffic was snarled because of construction, Police Maj. John Sidwell said. The man rammed a police car and two other vehicles, smashing the front end of his own vehicle, in an attempt to get away.

"He was trying to force his way through," Sidwell said.

The officer who shot Eilert is a nine-year veteran of the department.

Earlier Monday, police indicated that the man was shot as he drove toward an officer who was on foot. Detectives are looking into the details of the shooting, police spokeswoman Kristi Pankratz said Monday night.

The shooting also will be investigated by the Shawnee County Sheriff's Department and examined by an administrative review board.

"It is still under investigation," interim Police Chief Walt Wywadis said at Monday night's media briefing. "We did have one police car that was struck. We did have two citizen vehicles that were struck. It was a dangerous situation."

The officer who first responded to the domestic disturbance and a pregnant woman who was in one of the vehicles struck at the intersection received minor injuries, police said.

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