This combination of undated photos shows Officer Jeff Atherly, left, 29, and Cpl. David Gogian, 50, who were fatally shot outside a Topeka grocery store on Sunday.(Photo: Topeka Police Department via AP)
TOPEKA, Kansas -- 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 of people
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.
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, authorities said.
on a tip, law enforcement officers found Tiscareno holed up early
Monday at a house about a mile (1.6 kilometers) 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
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, Connecticut, 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
"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.
court records show Tiscareno was charged in September 2008 with one
count of theft of less than $1,000. He pleaded no contest in April 2009
and was sentenced to 12 months of supervised probation. His probation
was revoked in January 2010.
In March 2011, he was charged with
criminal use of weapons and was sentenced that September to 12 months of
unsupervised probation, also after pleading no contest. A notation in
court records available online said, "This defendant should be advised
against carrying a firearm."
Jones said he wasn't sure whether
there was a drug deal or drug use going on in the store parking lot; the
person who called authorities reported drug activity.
said the officers' deaths were a shock because a situation like the one
they were in wouldn't typically result in violence.
officer at the scene was not hurt and has been placed on administrative
leave with pay, which is standard procedure when an officer is involved
in a shooting, authorities said.
The other people who were in the
car when the shootings happened have been questioned. Authorities would
not say whether they might face charges.
Gogian had been a Topeka
police officer since September 2004 and had an adult son who's also a
Topeka officer. Atherly joined the department in April 2011.