LAWRENCE, Kan. – Douglas County District Attorney Susanne Valdez released her report Thursday justifying the October 2 police shooting of 43-year-old Michael Scott Blanck in Lawrence and no officers will face charges.
In her summary, Valdez said officers had been called out numerous times regarding family concern about Blanck’s mental health and unlawful presence at the home belonging to his father, who is elderly and has cancer.
According to the report, Blanck had an established criminal history.
On Oct. 2, just after 5:30 p.m. a family member called police to report criminal damage to property. The report says Blanck is alleged to have broke a back basement window and entered the home. The call ultimately led to the shooting incident involving officers hours later.
Based on the KBI’s initial investigation, Blanck eventually exited the home, and police tried to make contact with him. KBI said he pulled out a gun and pointed it at officers.
Three of the five Lawrence police officers fired, and multiple rounds hit Blanck. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
“The death of Michael Blanck is a tragedy that had the potential to end much worse,” Valdez said. We have met with Mr. Blanck’s family to express our condolences and to review my findings following the investigation conducted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. The officers involved in this incident acted lawfully and were legally justified in their response to the actions taken by Mr. Blanck.”
In her conclusion, Valdez went on to say “While the events of this incident are tragic, the investigation revealed that all of the officers involved in this shooting acted with deliberation, diligence, and urgency in executing their public safety duties.
Lawrence Police Chief Rich Lockhart released a statement Thursday night saying “I want to thank DA Suzanne Valdez for her conscientious review and well thought out decision regarding this tragic event. I also want to thank the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for their thorough investigation of the incident. When faced with an imminent confrontation with an armed individual, the officers performed their duties admirably. This situation is tragic for the Blanck family and for the officers as well. Our thoughts are with the Blanck family as they continue to process the loss of their family member.”
The officers involved have been cleared to return to active duty, according to Lockhart.