Editor’s Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that nine TPD officers were placed on leave following the Sept. 29th shooting and that the shooting of Christopher Kelley occurred on June 24, 2022.

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Police Chief Bryan Wheeles called the fourth officer-involved shooting of 2022 in Topeka a community tragedy and an example of the risks police officers take every day.

A statement from TPD said the officer feared for his life.

On Dec. 1, a uniformed Topeka Police officer shot a man following a confrontation when the individual, “failed to comply with a lawful police order and showed a gun.” The shooting happened during a traffic stop in the 2000 block of SW Lincoln after the man showed a gun, according to police.

Chief Bryan Wheeles told reporters there was a struggle between the officer and the man to get him to lower the gun. He died after being shot by the officer.

During a press conference, Chief Wheeles said officers continuously undergo use of force training, knowing when to take a shot to handle a “competitive, defensive individual.” He told reporters that officers are required to take classroom and practical exercises that include equipment training when having to use force

As of Dec. 1, two Topeka Police officers are on administrative leave, according to the chief. One officer is connected to the Dec. 1 altercation while the other was involved in a previous police shooting.

Following a shooting on Oct. 13 at the Kwik Shop near 45th Street and Topeka Boulevard, five officers were put on administrative leave. Police said 33-year-old Taylor Lowery was attempting to carjack a vehicle with two women and a child inside.

According to police, officers previously responded to a home in the 4800 block of SW Topeka Boulevard after getting an emergency call that the man was breaking into his sister’s home. He fled that home and retreated to the Kwik Shop, where police confronted him. Topeka Police told Lowery to drop a knife he was holding several times, according to the KBI.

On Sept. 29, both the TPD and the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office participated in a suspect’s arrest for a shooting that left one person dead and another wounded in South Topeka. A member of the TPD was also wounded during the incident.

Topeka Police were originally called to the 3500 block of SW Kerry Avenue for a shooting. Authorities discovered one individual dead and another with life-threatening injuries. Officers identified the suspect as Eric Perkins and chased him to downtown Topeka near SW 6th Avenue and South Kansas Avenue. At least one officer was wounded when gunfight broke out in downtown Topeka.

Nine Topeka police officers and one sheriff’s deputy were put on administrative leave following this shooting. 

On June 24, 2022 Christopher D. Kelley, 38, of Topeka, was killed by officers after coming at officers with a knife in his hand. Three members of TPD opened fire and shot him multiple times.

According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, officers tried to get the man to put down the knife and used non-lethal bean bags to disarm him. The man died from his injuries.

In 2021, there was one officer-involved shooting while there was none in 2020.