Butler County Times Gazette
  • Shooting near Potwin still under investigation

  • Law enforcement officers from Butler and Sedgwick counties are continuing to work the scene of a shooting Monday evening near Potwin.
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  • Law enforcement officers from Butler and Sedgwick counties are continuing to work the scene of a shooting Monday evening near Potwin.
    Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter and Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet reviewed details of the chase that led to a shooting, as well as talked about the next steps and charges during a press conference Tuesday morning.
    The events started when a Sedgwick County K-9 deputy observed a white Cadillac traveling at a high rate of speed near 101st Street. He pursued the vehicle, which increased its speed continuing east on K-196, according to Easter.
    The chase reached speeds of 90 to 120 miles per hour, with the driver driving erratically and passing two cars on the right side of the roadway.
    They traveled south on Ayers, then east on SW 70th before they came to a stop and the deputy thought they had gotten stuck in the mud. When the deputy got closer, he could see the vehicle was smoking.
    “At this location was a farm house with a hedge row,” Easter said.
    The deputy followed the suspects into the hedge row, then at 6:32 he radioed in he had been shot on the right side of his body with injuries to his right eye. He had been hit by pellets from a shotgun, one of which hit his right eye.
    Easter said the deputy did fire back.
    He was taken in serious condition to Wesley Hospital, where he underwent surgery on his eye.
    Law enforcement officers from 10 agencies responded to the scene and a perimeter was set up.
    “After the suspects involved in the shooting shot the deputy, the suspects continued to travel east on foot toward another occupied residence,” Herzet said.
    Herzet said the man who lived at that residence had been outside and heard shouting and the gunshots, so he went back into his house and told his wife to stay inside and they locked the doors.
    “As they were in their home, they looked outside and saw what appeared to be a male and female suspect, both walking toward their residence carrying a weapon,” he said.
    The suspects tried to make entry into their vehicles in the driveway. The keys were not in the vehicles, so they continued to walk toward the east and north.
    Herzet said there was a sheriff’s deputy driving on SW 70th.
    “They did turn and fire and did strike one of our patrol cars in the driver’s door,” Herzet said.
    From there the suspects continued into the northeast part of the field and continued to fire several rounds at the deputies.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It is my belief the suspects saw the deputies on the highway and realized they were not able to escape to the east to the highway so they turned back to the west where the hedge row was for cover,” Herzet said.
    As they went west, they were met by Kansas Highway Patrol officers and deputies from the Butler County Sheriff’s office. A KHP trooper fired one round, striking the male suspect in the chest.
    After that the two suspects were taken into custody. They were 35-year-old male Jason C. Perez and 27-year-old female Clara Crosser, both from Gardiner. Perez did have a criminal history, having been in prison on narcotics related charges.
    They had been staying in a motel in Wichita.
    Perez was taken by EagleMed to a Wichita hospital, where he remains under guard. Crosser also complained of asthma and a hurt ankle and was taken to the hospital, then released and booked into the Butler County Jail on two counts of attempted first degree murder.
    Tuesday, officers were continuing to do lab work at the scene, then they were to complete interviews.
    Once charges are presented, which was expected later in the week, the Butler County and Sedgwick County attorneys will decide who is going to prosecute the case.
    The chase lasted about 27 miles, beginning at 6:16 p.m. Monday and ending at 6:28. The deputy was shot at 6:32 p.m. and the two suspects were taken into custody within a matter of minutes.
    The Sedgwick County deputy remains in the hospital.
    Easter said doctors are waiting for that to heal and possibly have another surgery to know if he will lose his sight in that eye.
    “Any time, your thoughts go to that deputy and making sure he is safe,” Easter said, “and our thoughts go to the family.”
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