2 people arrested in incident that injured 3 Wichita officers

Crime

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department has arrested two people in connection with an incident Saturday that injured three officers. The three officers were hit by one blast from a modified shotgun.

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

During a news conference Monday afternoon, WPD Chief Gordon Ramsay said they do not have any reason to believe what happened was an ambush.

Tiffany Vulgamore (Photo from Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office)

Police arrested James A. Hathorn, 46, and Tiffany Lynn Vulgamore, 43, of Wichita, Sunday.

Police say a homeowner asked officers to check a home in the 1400 block of South St. Francis Saturday. The owner was afraid someone was inside and possibly doing damage to the home.

The owner provided the officers with a key to get inside.

Around 4 p.m., the officers went inside. They heard a loud bang, similar to an explosion, and they all had injuries to their legs.

Wichita police shared this photo of a recliner with a hole toward the bottom as they explained what happened to injure 3 officers Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Courtesy WPD)

Police were not sure what caused the loud noise or if someone was inside the home. That is why they called for extra help from SWAT, crisis negotiators, the bomb squad, the FBI, and ATF.

When they finally determined the home was empty and got inside to investigate, they learned the bang and the injuries came from a loaded, modified shotgun that had been left in a side pouch of a recliner. The gun did not have a trigger guard.

(Courtesy WPD)

With no trigger guard, the shotgun could fire with a slight bump. Ramsay says it is believed that an officer may have brushed against the recliner or against the chair’s electrical cord causing the gun to shoot.

“At this point in the investigation, we do not believe that this was a trap, ambush, or type of attack aimed at police officers or any intruders for that matter,” said Ramsay.

Ramsay said they are still investigating to see who owns the gun.

One of the injured officers was treated and released from the hospital. A second officer was released from the hospital Monday morning. The third officer is expected to be released later Monday.

Police say Hathorn and Vulgamore were not at the home Saturday while police were there, but officers say they saw the two trying to enter the home Sunday morning. That is when the police arrested them. Investigators say the two had been staying in the home for weeks and maybe months.

Hathorn was booked on suspicion of reckless aggravated battery, burglary, theft, criminal possession of a firearm, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Vulgamore was booked on suspicion of burglary, theft, criminal discharge of a firearm, as well as some outstanding warrants.

Anyone who may have any additional information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (316) 267-2111 or the investigations division at (316) 268-4181.

Police thanked citizens for their show of support to the officers.

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