Monday, July 16, 2018

Thank you for your support in wake of officers' shooting

Three of our officers were shot yesterday while trying to apprehend the man that we have identified as the suspect in the murder of a UMKC student from India - Sharath Koppu - on July 6. Fortunately, all three officers’ injuries were not life threatening. The suspect was killed in a gun battle with police. You can see pictures of one of the officer's vehicles above.

But I think the bigger story is what happened before, outside of and after yesterday’s incident. The people of Kansas City really came together to help us solve this senseless slaying of an innocent man. After we released video of the suspect, we got more than 40 tips from community members. About ten of those all identified the same person. I think this is proof both that the people of Kansas City will not tolerate that kind of violence and that the increased $10,000 reward for information in homicides is paying off.

Obviously, our very brave and courageous officers deserve a great deal of credit and praise for what happened yesterday. Without being called, they responded from all over the city, on-duty and off. Some of them just put on their uniforms and showed up to help in any way they could.

On behalf of the KCPD, I’d like to thank the agencies who assisted us at multiple shooting scenes yesterday, including the Kansas City Missouri Fire Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, U.S. Marshals, FBI and ATF. Taking It to the Streets and the Salvation Army provided food, drink and a place to cool off and use the restroom for the officers, detectives and crime scene staff who were out working these incidents. We’d also like to thank the amazing hospital staff members who have cared for our officers so diligently and cheerfully accommodated all of their visitors.

As those officers recover in the hospital, they are taking in the massive amount of support that has flowed their way, and it is lifting their spirits. Members of the Board of Police Commissioners and Mayor Sly James came to visit them. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson called to offer his support and acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice required in police work. Other elected officials have reached out, as well. I’ve lost track of how many of our fellow police agencies around the metro area and across the country have reached out with their support and prayers. Members of the media have offered their well-wishes.

Most importantly, our community has rallied around these officers and our department. We were frankly a little taken aback by all the notes of thanks and support that have come in on social media, e-mail and by phone. That support means the world not only to the officers who are recovering, but to everyone on this department. Because this job is not easy, and in recent years, it’s only gotten harder as tension has erupted between law enforcement and the people they serve across the country. Our job is to protect and serve every single person who lives, works or visits Kansas City, Mo., with professionalism and integrity, and we take that duty extremely seriously. For officers to go out there and know that their work is appreciated means more than a paycheck ever could. I just can’t say “thank you” enough to the people of our city who are partnering with us to make it safer.

Some of those people were in the neighborhoods yesterday where these incidents occurred. We interrupted a church service and had people shelter in place in their houses. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in our efforts to bring this incident to the safest conclusion possible.

We hope everyone’s support continues beyond these next few days. The terror of what happened will not stop for these officers after they leave the hospital. They are husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, and their families have undergone trauma, as well. We deployed a chaplain to the hospital and to each of our urban core police stations to pray with and encourage not only the injured officers but especially our newer officers who are understandably shaken. Our Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 99 also hosted a chaplain and activated our peer support network. The KCPD CARE Team assisted with practical matters for the injured officers’ families. Everyone involved in this situation will remember what took place for the rest of their career, and their lives, for that matter. They will also remember the outpouring of support received from this community. Thank you to all. 

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