Police in Ottawa, Kansas gunned down an 18 year old over the weekend, pumping sixteen bullets into his body in yet another example of police overkill. Ottawa, a small town in northeast Kansas (population 12,646 per the last census) and the birthplace of former Democrat presidential candidate Gary Hart who was brought down by a 1987 sex scandal, is hardly the place where one would imagine such an incident going down. It is small-town America, like Mayberry along the banks of the Marais des Cygnes River but in a country where the police have been allowed to run amok and are tacitly encouraged to resort to violence rather than to deescalate, such shootings can happen anywhere at any time.
The victim, a suicidal teenager named Joseph Jennings was shot down like a dog by police in a hardware store parking lot. There was an initial report that Jennings may have had a gun but appears to have been unarmed. Kansas City television station KCTV reports:
Authorities say an 18-year-old man was shot and killed by police officers and sheriff’s deputies Saturday evening outside an Ottawa hardware store.
Family members say officers knew that the teen was suicidal, and officers didn’t have to use deadly force.
Ottawa police were called about 7:50 p.m. on Saturday to Orscheln Farm and Home at 2008 S. Princeton St. on a report of a person reportedly armed with a gun.
Deputies with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the call.
When officers arrived, they made contact with the person, later identified as Joseph Jennings, in the parking lot.
During the encounter, officers with the Ottawa Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office were involved in a shooting.
Jennings was treated at the scene for gunshot wounds and transported to an Ottawa hospital where he later died.
“Why did it take them shooting him 16 times at least for them to bring him down and go and take care of what they needed to take care of?” Jennings’ aunt, Brandy Smith said.
Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler said officers did what they were trained to do.
“They reacted based upon the training that they’ve been given from the academy,” Butler said. “We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm.”
Statements by Chief Butler mirror those from Habersham County, Georgia Sheriff Joey Terrell on the actions of his own uniformed thugs when Bounkham Phonesavah aka Baby Boo Boo was severely burned after a military-style flash grenade was thrown into his crib during a police raid. Knowing full well that they are allowed to operate with impunity one should never expect any admission of poor judgement nor even a glimpse of remorse from today’s cops and their leaders.
KCTV provides additional detail on the victim who was allegedly suffering from depression and has been trying to kill himself, most recently during an attempted overdose:
Two days before he was shot and killed, Jennings expressed his anguish on Facebook.
“Tonight is the night goodbye everyone!!!!! It was truly a good ride! And I’m sorry for who I might of hurted (sic) and people that I may of offended, But I love all my family and I hope you don’t hold this against me,” Jennings wrote.
Ten minutes later, according to family members, Jennings swallowed 60 pills trying to take his life.
“The two cops that was involved in the shooting was also there when they took him to Ransom Memorial Hospital for overdosing,” Smith said.
Jennings had survived the overdose, but only three hours after leaving the hospital, he walked to Orscheln Farm and Home.
Smith said he was there on a suicide mission. But when she saw what was happening she ran from her home to try to intervene.
“I told them it is Joseph Jennings. He is suicidal. He is upset, don’t shoot him,” she said.
But the police blew him away anyway in what looks like a case of “suicide by cop”. This should be something that officers are trained to deal with and they certainly could have used non-lethal force. Granted that the use of Tasers are unpredictable and at times result in deaths – like a recent incident in Florida – but for God’s sake, why does it take sixteen gunshots?
The victim was Caucasian so don’t expect Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to rearrange their busy schedules to drop by Ottawa in order to denounce the killing of this latest victim of the shoot to kill American police.