TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man with a history of theft and weapons convictions gunned down two police officers investigating possible drug activity in a Kansas grocery parking lot, and was later killed after an armed standoff, authorities said Monday.
Hundreds gathered outside Topeka police headquarters with candles in memory of Cpl. David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly. Members of the slain officers' families attended Monday night's vigil along with dozens of law enforcement officers in uniforms.
"You never really think you're going to lose friends. Everybody, I think, is still in shock," said Officer Kurtis VanDonge, a 31-year-old Army veteran who was in Atherly's training class and worked under Gogian.
A bagpiper played "Amazing Grace," and a minister read from the opening chapter of the Gospel of John that includes the verse: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
The man who opened fire on the officers Sunday night was David Edward Tiscareno, 22, of Topeka, said Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones said Tiscareno was seated behind the driver's seat of a car stopped in the parking lot of a Topeka grocery store when police ordered the occupants to get out. After shooting two of the three responding officers, Tiscareno got back into the car and drove from the scene. The third officer returned fire, Jones said.
"There were people inside the store," Jones said during a news conference earlier Monday. "There were residents who saw this going on. There were people driving. There was a multitude of witnesses there."
Gogian, 50, and Atherly, 29, were shot in the head, according to authorities.
Based on a tip, law enforcement officers found Tiscareno holed up early Monday at a house about a mile away. When negotiations broke down, Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents fired tear gas inside. Tiscareno then emerged from the home with a gun and officers opened fire, according to the Shawnee County sheriff's office, which is leading the investigation.
Smith said investigators believe Tiscareno fired a single shot outside the home before authorities returned fire. Tiscareno was declared dead at a hospital.
Police Chief Ronald Miller said the 280 officers on his Topeka force are "numb." The shootings in the Kansas capital followed last week's massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. Closer to Topeka, earlier this month, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, then drove to the team's practice site and committed suicide.
"There's a lot of people in this country that are grieving some of the things that have happened over the last several days, and we're just counted among that group," Miller said.
Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt participated in the vigil. Miller called Gogian and Atherly "first-rate police officers" and added: "We can't make sense of what has happened."
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