The fatal shooting Monday of Kansas City, KS, police detective Brad Lancaster was an awful tragedy. But from The Kansas City Star’s thorough accounts, it is clear a few more people could have ended up dead.
We are very lucky that more funerals are not being planned and more tribute stories being written.
Consider the terror that five other people, including two children, endured:
:: After shooting Lancaster near Kansas Speedway about 12:15 p.m., 28-year-old Curtis Ayers of Tonganoxie drove west on State Avenue in Lancaster’s vehicle. He must have been going mighty fast, but a KCK police officer was able to ram the detective’s car with his own patrol car. Unfortunately, Ayers was able to elude apprehension there and continued on to 118th and State, where he crashed the detective’s vehicle. He then carjacked a woman who was driving with two small children, forced the woman from the car and took off with the two children…Can you imagine how scared she was she might never see her children alive again? And the children — separated from their mother by a madman?
:: Ayers drove to the Falcon Lakes subdivision in Basehor, where he saw a house with an open garage and a car inside. (Police constantly warn against leaving garage doors open, and this is why.) Ayers walked into the house and put a gun in the face of the resident, who was sitting on a couch…How about that for unsettling your Monday afternoon? The homeowner turned over his car keys to Ayers, who took off in the resident’s car. The most fortunate part of this phase of the story is Ayers left the two kids behind and they were later reunited with their much-relieved mother.
:: Our unhinged criminal then headed east, where Kansas City police spotted him on Bruce R. Watkins Drive about 2:30 p.m…At that time, Lancaster was in a hospital emergency room, dying…At the Bannister Road exit, Ayers crashed the stolen car into a bridge pillar. He then approached a woman who was stopped in traffic, stood in front of her car and ordered her out. Before she could react, Ayers, armed with a shotgun, fired twice into the car, striking the woman with pellets in the shoulder, arm, neck and head. She, too, was lucky, driving away with non-life-threatening wounds. Another motorist was also counting his blessings. He told police Ayers fired into his vehicle, missing him…Imagine how long those minutes were for those two motorists?
:: Finally, police were able to move in close enough to get a shot at Ayers. An officer struck him with a rifle shot, and he was taken into custody about 2:35 p.m.
:: There was no reprieve — no luck — for Brad Lancaster, who died about 3:30 p.m. and left behind a wife and two daughters, one 9, the other 10. Can you imagine the anguish they are going through — and will for years?
Contributions to a memorial fund for Lancaster’s family can be mailed to:
Kansas City, KS, Police Department
Attn. Chief’s Office
700 Minnesota Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66101