KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A former detective for the Kansas City, Kansas police department was identified as the man officers shot and killed Monday afternoon.
Lionel Womack, 35, worked for the department until 2020, and Chief Karl Oakman said he still has family working for the department.
“Any situation involving a loss of life is difficult, you know this is very difficult,” Oakman said. “Most of the officers knew him, so we have to make sure in what we’re doing and making sure that we have wellness resources for all of our officers, as well as Mr. Womack’s family still has members that are part of the KCK Police Department.”
Police first received reports around 2:30 p.m. Monday about a man standing in the middle of the street looking at the sky and jumping in front of traffic near North 57th Street and Interstate 70.
The department said as soon as officers arrived Womack started running at them. He eventually was able to get into the driver’s seat of one of the officers’ patrol cars. One of the officers struggled with Womack as he tried to remove him from the car. They fought over the officer’s gun, and Womack was able to get it away from the officer. Investigators said Womack pointed the gun at the other officer, who shot him.
Womack was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Oakman said the officers did everything they could, and the incident was captured on the officer’s body cameras and with the cameras in their patrol cars.
“As he started running to the car they tried to verbally kind of calm him down and deescalate the situation to no avail,” Oakman said.
“Those officers had no choice. This whole incident took place in 26 seconds. 26 seconds,” Oakman said.
One of the officers suffered cuts to his hand. The other injured his foot, and investigators believe it’s possible that one of the initial bullets fired during the struggle over the weapon may have hit him.
An attorney for Womack’s family said they are also trying to come to terms with what happened Monday afternoon.
“The family of Lionel Womack thanks the members of the Kansas City community for your outpouring of support after their devastating loss yesterday,” Michael Kuckelman said in a statement. “They are asking for privacy and your prayers, as they grieve.”