KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City police officer who was shot in the head during an exchange of gunfire that left a suspect dead was in stable condition Friday following surgery, authorities said.
A police spokesman, Officer Jacob Becchina, declined to release the name of the officer, and Chief Richard Smith said his family was asking for privacy. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which is heading the investigation into the Thursday evening shooting, identified the suspect in a tweet as Ky Johnson, 31, of Grandview.
The patrol did not immediately return phone messages left by The Associated Press on Friday seeking more information.
But Smith said during a briefing for reporters that the officer moved “some of his limbs” and called that “a very promising sign.”
“The neurosurgeon seems to be very optimistic for the wound it was,” Smith said during the briefing, which was livestreamed by WDAF-TV. “I think we’re headed down the right path.”
Highway patrol officials said police were called shortly before 5 p.m. to a McDonald’s restaurant where Johnson was waving a gun, then fled on foot. The officers chased him, and he turned and opened fire on them, striking one. A second officer fired back, highway patrol officials said.
Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted his support for the police following the shooting.
“The women and men of our department are dedicated to this city,” Lucas said. “Always have been. Always will be. We owe them our prayers tonight and our thanks and our resolve—all of us—to call out those who are terrorizing so many in our community.”
Smith touched on similar themes during his briefing, decrying what he called a recent “negative narrative” about law enforcement.
Protesters across the U.S. have called for reforms and defunding police since George Floyd’s death May 25 in Minnesota. Floyd, a Black man, was pleading for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck for nearly eight minutes, and his death inspired global demonstrations.
“I’m trying to bite my tongue here, but it’s frustrating,” Smith said. “These men and women come out here everyday to protect and help people in this city. I think for awhile here there was a negative portrayal of that, and it was a voice and maybe a message that was not honest, in my opinion.”
The Kansas City officer’s shooting is the second in the city that injured an officer Thursday. Three people including a police officer were shot earlier in the day after a reported robbery at a bus stop.