WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — District Attorney Marc Bennett has finished his review of a fatal shooting earlier this year. A Goddard police officer shot and killed 39-year-old Michael Trask on a rural road southwest of Wichita
Investigators say the shooting happened after a traffic violation and a short police chase on Feb. 20. The Goddard officer who was chasing Trask’s pickup called off the chase but continued to follow him at a slower speed.
Trask slowed down significantly. The officer reactivated his patrol car lights, thinking the driver was preparing to stop.
But then the officer notified dispatch that he saw the driver flash a gun at him. The officer put some distance between the two vehicles. He said the pickup stopped at 183rd Street West and 63rd Street South. After 37 seconds, the driver got out of the pickup and began walking toward the officer. The officer saw a handgun.
The district attorney says the officer repeatedly said, ‘Stop,” “Drop the gun,” and “Don’t make me shoot you.”
“Despite the warnings, Mr. Trask continued toward the officer with the apparent weapon in his hand,” Bennett wrote in his report. “Believing he would be shot by Mr. Trask, the Goddard officer fired his weapon 8 times, striking Mr. Trask twice. Mr. Trask died as a result. Under the totality of the circumstances, the Goddard Officer is immune from prosecution under Kansas law.”
Investigators had video from three different cameras. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office released some images from the video, showing Trask with a handgun walking toward the police officer.
The officer fired his gun, hitting Trask twice. At 9:50:30, the officer notified dispatch that shots had been fired. Trask’s gun was a BB gun.
Less than a minute after the shooting, 911 got a call from Trask’s wife. She told a dispatcher that her husband was in a chase and that he was suicidal.
The district attorney’s office said investigators searched Trask’s phone after the shooting and found that he had done an internet search the day before for “suicide.”
Bennett said his report only deals with any criminal liability of the Goddard police officer. It does not deal with any administrative or civil actions.
The district attorney said, under Kansas law, a person can use deadly force when the person reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent imminent risk of great bodily harm.
Bennett said Kansas’ stand-your-ground law protects people from prosecution if they acted reasonably when using deadly force.
“Under Kansas law and the facts of the case, I conclude that no criminal charges will be filed
against the Goddard Officer,” Bennett wrote.