© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Overland Park Police 'Numb' After Officer Killed In Gunfire Exchange

Overland Park Police officer Mike Mosher, right, received an officer of the year award in 2018. He was killed on May 3, 2020.
Overland Park Police Department
Overland Park Police officer Mike Mosher, right, received an Officer of the Year award in 2018. He was killed on Sunday.

Officer Mike Mosher was the first Overland Park officer to die in the line of duty since 1985.

Overland Park police officer John Lacy says the department is “numb” after losing an officer in the line of duty for the first time since 1985.

Officer Mike Mosher, a 14-year veteran of the department, was killed in a shootout Sunday with a hit-and-run suspect.

Lacy said Mosher was en route to work in his personal vehicle when he responded to a hit-and-run at the intersection of 143rd Street and Antioch Road. Mosher called into dispatch hoping other officers could stop the driver.

Before backup arrived, however, Lacy says “there was a physical altercation and gunshots were exchanged.”

The suspect, identified by police Monday as 38-year-old Phillip Michael Carney, died at the scene. Mosher died at an area hospital, Lacy said.

“We're just trying to figure this out,” Lacy said. “We're in uncharted territory. But we're asking for prayers from the public.”

Lacy said it’s not yet clear whether there will be a public funeral or memorial service, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But he said the department has been flooded with messages of support via email and social media.

“I would say keep that coming,” he said. “Because our officers do read that. Just keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

Lacy described Mosher as an “officer’s officer” who was the head of the department’s Fraternal Order of Police union. He is survived by a wife and young daughter.

Sunday's incident wasn't the first time Mosher had faced gunfire in the line of duty.

In 2018, he and Officer Brian Caniglia exchanged gunfire with a murder suspect. The man, who was killed in the exchange, had been armed with an AK-47 rifle.

Caniglia, who later transferred to the Kansas City, Missouri, police department, told KCUR that he survived the incident because of Mosher's actions.

"It was kind of one of those moments where we just clicked," he said. The duo -- Mosher at one point had helped train Caniglia when he was a new recruit -- eventually received numerous awards and accolades for valor.

"We saved each other that night," Caniglia said. "If I didn't have Mike, I don't believe I would have been here... I wouldn't have been able to meet my son, because my wife was pregnant at the time."

Mosher and Caniglia became closer after the 2018 incident, and their families stayed in touch even after Caniglia switched departments.

"I always joked with him that he's going to protect the Kansas side and I'm going to protect the Missouri side," Caniglia said. "He loved being a police officer. He loved helping people. He loved catching bad guys. He loved Overland Park, Kansas. So if anything, I hope people can remember him for that. He'll definitely be missed, and we love him."

The last Overland Park police officer killed on the job was Deanna Rose, who was killed on Interstate 35 in January 1985 after a man she was attempting to arrest for drunk driving assaulted her and then ran over her. She was 26 years old and had been with the department for two years. The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead at 138th Street and Switzer Road is named after her.

This story was updated to include the name of the suspect and additional comments from a fellow policeman.

As a reporter covering military and veterans’ affairs, I tell the stories of current and former service members and their families. I hold the government, elected officials and others responsible when they break their promises. And I explore how Americans can best uphold our commitments to those who serve.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.