Sedgwick Co. DA’s office not charging deputy involved in 2019 shooting that left a 51-year-old woman dead


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office is not charging a deputy involved in a shooting that left a 51-year-old woman dead on December 30, 2019.

Debra Arbuckle was shot and killed after a chase involving Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputies.

Debra Arbuckle (Courtesy: KDOC)

According to the sheriff’s office, they attempted to stop a Volkswagen she was driving several times before the pursuit ended on Webb Road and Mt. Vernon.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s report said four pursuing deputies exited their vehicles and approached the Volkswagen on foot. When the white reverse lights of the Volkswagen activated, at least one deputy verbally warned the other deputies.

A deputy who was west of the Volkswagen, on the passenger side, believed the deputies to the north and west would be struck by the car as it reversed. He fired his handgun six times into the passenger side of the vehicle.

“The suspect placed the vehicle in reverse and accelerated toward the deputies,” Col. Brian White said in a news conference in 2019. “Fearing for his life and the other deputies, the deputy fired several rounds striking the suspect.”

The car rolled back to the south, toward the curb and came to a stop. Arbuckle, the only person in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her family filed a federal lawsuit against the sheriff’s deputy who allegedly shot and killed her.

Reaction from Michael Kuckelman, attorney representing Debra Arbuckle’s son (Alek Hansen) in the civil case:

We’re certainly disappointed that Deputy Kaleb Dailey isn’t facing a homicide charge in the death of Debra Arbuckle. We wholeheartedly disagree with today’s decision.

The deputy fired six shots into the passenger door and window. No other officer on the scene fired a single shot. That’s because Ms. Arbuckle wasn’t a threat to them. Her front wheel didn’t even have a tire on it. They rammed her car, ran it off the road, and they surrounded it with their cars. The officers weren’t in danger. In fact, the Wichita Police Department had already called off pursuit.

Eluding an officer doesn’t warrant deadly force.

The timing of this announcement caught us by surprise. We just deposed Deputy Dailey last week in the civil case, and the transcript isn’t available yet. We think the transcript should have been considered in the decision whether or not to charge Deputy Dailey. Perhaps it would have made a difference in the decision?

It’s important to bear in mind that the only reason they were pursuing Debra Arbuckle was that she had the wrong license plate on her vehicle. Never should a traffic violation involving a license plate escalate to using deadly force.”

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