TOPEKA Police fatally shot a man near a park in Kansas' capital city on Thursday, saying he was armed with a handgun and struggled with officers.
Topeka police said the shooting occurred after officers responded to a report of a disturbance and shots being fired near the park Thursday morning and encountered the man, whom they described as "a suspicious person."
"While fleeing from officers, the individual reached for the pocket containing the firearm, causing the officers to fire their weapons," police Lt. Colleen Stuart said in a video statement. "The individual's gun was recovered from the scene."
The Lawrence Police Department is investigating the officer-involved shooting at the request of the Topeka Police Department, Lawrence police said in a news release Thursday. The Johnson County Crime Lab is assisting in the forensic investigation of the scene.
The slain man was identified as Dominique Tyrell White, 30, of Topeka, according to Lawrence police.
Names of the two responding Topeka police officers — both of whom fired their guns immediately following the struggle, resulting in White's fatal injuries, according to Lawrence police — were not released.
Lawrence police said the investigation was in "early stages" and ongoing. The department urges anyone who saw the incident, or events surrounding it, to call the Douglas County Emergency Communications Center at 785-832-7509. Callers will be asked to provide their names and contact information so investigators can follow up.
Thursday morning, Kansas Highway Patrol and Shawnee County sheriff's officers also converged on the scene as dozens of people gathered in the area, some of them agitated, according to local media reports. However, the crowd dispersed quickly.
Speaking to reporters outside her nearby apartment about 90 minutes after the shooting, 67-year-old Asalean Netherland criticized the police but also said people must obey officers' commands.
"That boy was killed innocently, no reason, just by not stopping," Netherland said in a video posted online by The Topeka Capital-Journal. "Just want to make everybody know, when they say stop."
She continued, yelling, "STOP! They need to stop whether you wrong or right you're going to be caught anyway."
— Journal-World reporter Sara Shepherd contributed to this report.