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Former Kansas City, Kansas, Police detective killed by current officer in ‘difficult situation’

112321_lowe_kckpd cameras.jpg
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
In this February file photo, Kansas City Kansas Police show a new integrated camera system, including a monitor that displays dash-cam video inside a KCKPD cruiser. Both body and vehicle cameras were recording when Lionel A. Womack was shot and killed on Monday.

Lionel A. Womack, a former Kansas City, Kansas, Police detective, was shot and killed by a current officer Monday afternoon. Womack, 36, was fired last year for "numerous" policy and conduct violations.

A former Kansas City, Kansas, Police detective was killed by another officer this week in what Chief Karl Oakman called a “difficult situation.”

Lionel A. Womack, a 13-year veteran of the force, was shot after he allegedly wrestled an officer to the ground and attempted to get his weapon, Oakman said at a Tuesday press conference. Oakman said the incident was caught on body and in-vehicle cameras.

“Those officers had no choice,” Oakman said. “This whole incident took place in 26 seconds. Twenty-six seconds.” 

Womack, 36, worked for KCKPD from 2007 to 2020, when he was fired for “numerous policy violations, numerous conduct issues that resulted in his termination,” Oakman said. Several of Womack’s family members still work for the department.

A March 2020 photo of Lionel A. Womack.

Womack’s family thanked the Kansas City community for “your outpouring of support after their devastating loss,” according to a statement by their attorney, Michael Kuckelman.

“They are asking for privacy and your prayers, as they grieve,” he said.

A joint investigation into Womack’s shooting is being conducted by the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s office, Oakman said, and shadowed by the Kansas City Police Department.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said in 2018 that fatal shootings by officers should be done by an outside agency, like the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Dupree was out of the office on Tuesday afternoon and wasn’t able to comment on the Womack case, said his spokesman, Jonathan Carter.

The incident began Monday about 2:30 p.m. when police were called by a woman reporting that a man was standing in the middle of the road, pointing towards the sky at 651 N. 57th Street. Police then got a second call from another person, saying that man was trying to stop traffic.

Two officers in separate cars arrived and approached Womack, whom they recognized, Oakman said.

Womack came towards the officers in “an aggressive manner,” Oakman said, wrestled one officer to the ground and allegedly grabbed his gun from him.

Oakman said that's when the second officer shot Womack. The two officers were injured,, but not badly hurt.

Asked about possible mental health issues, Oakman said he didn’t know Womack personally.

“We don’t know what happened in his life that caused him to spiral,” Oakman said.

Oakman said the officers involved in the shooting, who have not been identified, have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the shooting investigation.

“It’s difficult," Oakman said. "Any situation involving a loss of life is difficult. This one is very difficult because not only that, most of the officers knew him.”

Womack filed a federal lawsuit in December, alleging excessive force by Kiowa County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Rodriguez. Womack said Rodriguez intentionally drove over him in an August 2020 incident that was captured on dashcam video. The deputy has denied the allegations.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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