Topeka officers were justified in man’s shooting death, DA says

TOPEKA — Three Topeka police officers who shot and killed a man this summer were justified because the man charged at them with a knife, Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said.

The officers shot Christopher Kelley, a 38-year-old Black man, on June 24 after responding to a report that a man was threatening a BNSF employee with a knife.

Kelley, who struggled with mental health issues, cut himself several times with the knife before charging at the officers, who shot him, Topeka Police Chief Bryan Wheeles said.

Kagay said in a statement released Thursday that an autopsy found Kelley had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system.

The officers negotiated with Kelley for about an hour and used less lethal means, such as bean bags and foam/rubber projectiles. Kelley did not respond to those efforts and continued cutting himself before he charged at the officers, Kagay said.

The officers’ names have not been made public.


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