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Archive for Friday, October 27, 2006

N.W. Kansas sheriff killed

October 27, 2006

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— A northwest Kansas sheriff was shot and killed in his office Thursday by a 35-year-old man who was then fatally shot by a deputy, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said.

Sheridan County Sheriff James L. Johnson was talking to Steven Paul Reitcheck about a possible commitment to a mental health facility when Reitcheck pulled a handgun and fired, KBI deputy director Kyle Smith said.

Reitcheck, of rural Sheridan County, had mental health issues and had been involved in earlier incidents, Smith said.

Johnson, 54, was elected sheriff in 1988 after serving as a Hoxie police officer. He was married and had five adult children.

Several law enforcement agencies are working with the KBI on an investigation.

Sheriff Allan Webb, of neighboring Gove County, was sworn in as interim Sheridan County sheriff.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius issued a statement calling Johnson's death "a tragedy, not only for the Sheridan County community, but for law enforcement officers and Kansans across our state."

Atty. Gen. Phill Kline said Kansas law enforcement "has lost another of our best and most brave."

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