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Three Kansas City Police Officers Shot, Suspect In Killing of UMKC Student Dead

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3
KCPD officers block Van Brunt Boulevard at 31st Street after three officers were wounded in shoot-outs with a suspect in the murder of a UMKC student.

Updated Sunday 10:04 p.m. 

Three Kansas City police officers were shot Sunday afternoon during a hunt for a man they suspected of killing a UMKC student. The suspect was killed, according to the Kansas City Police Department.  

The three wounded officers are expected to survive, KCPD Chief Rick Smith said in a news conference Sunday afternoon. 

Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
In addition to dozens of KCPD officers, Jackson County Sheriff deputies, Missouri Highway Patrol troopers and federal ATF agents also responded to Sunday's shootings.

Smith said detectives were surveilling several locations in east Kansas City. 

“We’d been looking for him all week," Smith said. "This is the first time we laid eyes on him.”

An initial gun battle broke out around noon when detectives followed the unidentified suspect to the Sky-Vu Motel on East 40 Highway near I-435. 

"Our officers then became engaged with the person we were trying to surveille and there was gunfire. At that point two of our officers were shot,” Smith said.

An hour later near 30th and Topping another gun battle wounded another KCPD detective, and the suspect was killed.

"We didn’t know he was there, he just popped up all of a sudden and engaged the officer,” Smith said.

Sunday evening, Kansas City police tweeted crime scene photos showing an undercover police car riddled with gunshots. Two of the wounded detectives were inside. The bullets were fired from an AK-47 style semi-automatic rifle, according to a KCPD spokesman. 

The law enforcement response was massive. In addition to dozens of KCPD officers, Jackson County Sheriff deputies, Missouri Highway Patrol troopers and ATF agents were on the scene. Streets around 31st and Van Brunt were sealed off for hours.

Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
KCPD tactical teams cleared a house near 30th and Topping in Kansas City after a suspect in the murder of a UMKC student died in a gun fight with police at that location.

The murder of 25-year old Sharath Koppu, who is from India, led to Sunday's police action. Koppu was shot and killed July 6 during an attempted robbery at J's Chicken and Fish Market near 54th and Prospect. Koppu was a graduate student from India who arrived in the United States in January to pursue a master's degree in computer science.

Less than a day later, surveillence video from the store was broadcast and a $10,000 reward offered. Police have not said whether a tip led them to the locations Sunday.

Sam Zeff is KCUR's metro reporter. You can follow Sam on Twitter @samzeff

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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