‘Officers and deputies immune from prosecution under Kansas law,’ Sedgwick County DA weighs in on 2019 officer-involved shooting

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett held a news conference via Zoom Tuesday afternoon to talk about the 2019 Memorial Day officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of 49-year-old Robert Sabater.

Bennett stated that he completed the review of the use of deadly force that resulted in the death of Sabater on May 27 at 1945 S. Glenn in Wichita.

Sedgwick County DA Marc Bennett

Bennett stated, “The investigation established that Mr. Sabater fired multiple rounds both inside and outside of his house, causing neighbors to contact 911 which caused law enforcement officers to be dispatched. When officers and deputies arrived, he continued to shoot his handgun out the front door of his residence. One Sheriff’s Sgt. (Officer 12) returned fire, to no effect. Mr. Sabater later ran with a gun into the street, ignored verbal commands to drop his gun, and ran north of his house. Officers did not fire initially due to concerns they would expose one another to crossfire compounded by poor visibility as a result of heavy rain.

The officers pursued Mr. Sabater on foot. When they verbally commanded him to drop his weapon, Mr. Sabater instead raised his handgun at the officers who responded by shooting. Mr. Sabater appeared to officers to have gone to the ground initially but got back up to run. Officers reported that he again turned his weapon on the officers, several of whom shot—nearly simultaneously–killing Mr. Sabater. Two law enforcement officers reported hearing Mr. Sabater repeatedly yelling the phrase, “shoot me.”

The District Attorney concluded by saying, “under these circumstances, the officers and deputies are immune from prosecution under Kansas law. Under Kansas law and the facts of the case, I conclude that no criminal charges will be filed against the officers and deputies.”

To read the entire report from the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office, click here.

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