Wichita man sentenced after 2 officers injured in shooting


James Hathorn (Photo from Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A 46-year-old man who moved into a vacant house where two police officers were injured in a shooting earlier this year was sentenced to 32 months in prison Tuesday

In September, James Hathorn, 46, of Wichita, pleaded guilty to residential burglary, theft, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Before being arrested, he lived with his girlfriend in the vacant house in the 1800 block of South St. Francis.

Hathorn admitted in his plea that he entered the vacant house without permission from the owner and that he had a sawed-off shotgun hidden in the side pocket of a recliner chair. He also admitted to taking items from the house.

On Feb. 27, three Wichita officers investigating a burglary report entered the house, but no one was home. While making their way through the front room, the officers bumped the chair where the shotgun was hidden, and the gun discharged. The blast from the gun struck two of the officers in the legs, causing severe injuries. The loaded shotgun was not in safe mode, and the trigger guard was not on the weapon.

A judge considered a request from the defense attorney to place Hathorn on probation but declined to do so based on his violent criminal history and actions while on parole previously.

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