TOPEKA (KSNT)- Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay joined the 27 Morning Show to sit down with 27 News Anchor Katie Garceran.
This was his first appearance on the show since the record was officially broken for this year with 32 homicides, making it the deadliest on record in Topeka’s history.
“I am sad, I am frustrated, and I am concerned,” Kagay said. “And I think the community is as well and we should be. This is completely unacceptable. One homicide is too many already.”
He said that although this year has been tough, he has a message to Topekans regarding the trends we are seeing in relation to these homicides.
“More often than not, these are actions that are being carried out by criminals against people that are engaged in a lifestyle that embraces criminality,” he said.
As an example, Kagay said that if you are involved with a gang, or with a narcotics trade, you are more likely to be a victim of a violent crime or of a homicide. He emphasized that Topeka as a whole is a safe place to live, there are just certain groups within the city that are making bad decisions.
“It’s not a City of Topeka issue,” he said. “Look at your friends, look at who you are surrounding yourself with, look at the lifestyle that you’ve chosen to follow yourself; that will determine whether or not you are living a safe life.”
He went on to say that if it wasn’t a safe place, he would not be living here with his family.
“I just wouldn’t,” he said. “But it is. It’s a safe place to raise your family, it’s a safe place to work. But, again, the trend we are seeing now is the same trend that we’ve been seeing rising and falling for years.”
That trend, he explained, can be stopped he said by getting to the heart of those issues, and engaging people more on the “street level”.
“We are seeing this code of silence that’s on the street,” he said. “They don’t want to cooperate with law enforcement. They don’t want to talk to us. They don’t want to tell us what happened… And I think we are finally to the point where these people are so frustrated that they are willing to step forward and do the right thing to hold these defenders accountable. “
He said that that fact alone is cause for hope and progress moving forward as a community. Additionally, he took the time to acknowledge the Topeka Police Department for their work in apprehending suspects so far.
“They are working around the clock, day and night,” he said.
He said the department is working hand in hand with the community to apprehend those defenders and get them off the streets as quickly as possible.
“They are presenting those cases to us, we are filing those charges and we will hold every single offender accountable, ” Kagay said. “And we will achieve justice for the victims in all of these cases and we will not stop until we are done. ”
October is also known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Kagay recognized that a number of the homicides committed this year were related to domestic situations.
“Based upon our records at the DA’s office, we have experienced 5 domestic violence homicides this year, which is 5 too many,” he said.
Acknowledging that many domestic violence situations go unreported, he said this is something that every community experiences in some way.
“If you are a survivor of domestic violence, get help,” he said. “Get yourself out of that situation. If you know someone who is in that situation, help them. Don’t wait for them to ask, just help them, because they might not even know that they are drowning.”
In addition to speaking about the trends with the homicide record this year and how domestic violence plays into that, Kagay also spoke about the court system breach and the SAVE program receiving funds from the City of Topeka and the Kansas Department of Corrections.
To hear more on those topics, you can watch the full interview above.
Keep up with the latest breaking news in northeast Kansas by downloading our mobile app.