On Saturday at 7:51 p.m., officers with the Ottawa Police Department were dispatched to a person reportedly armed with a gun in the Orscheln’s Farm and Home parking lot, 2008 S. Princeton Street; deputies with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the call.
“I was screaming at the top of my lungs, don’t shoot him, don’t shot him, that’s Joseph Jennings he just got out of the hospital, don’t shoot him,” Brandy Smith, witness and victim’s aunt Brandy Smith says.
Responding officers made contact with the person, later identified as Joseph Jennings, an 18-year-old white male from Ottawa, in the parking lot. During the encounter, an officer reportedly shoot Jennings inside the store, critically injuring him. Officers with the Ottawa Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office were involved in a shooting.
“When this occurred we followed already outlined procedures and protocols,” Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Hunting says.
Jennings was treated at the scene by emergency personnel from the Franklin County Ambulance Service for gunshot wounds and transported to Ransom Memorial Hospital in Ottawa. He died of the injuries at the hospital.
“I don’t understand, why they had to go to that extreme, the bean bagging him, I can see that to get him down but they didn’t have to shoot and kill him,” Smith says.
Smith says she and her husband were within arms-length of Jennings. She believes they could have calmed him down and his death could have been prevented. She also says her nephew was in a psychiatric hospital just a few hours before the shooting.
As a matter of policy, the department requested assistance from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI). The KBI is handling the investigation. Also as a matter of policy, officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave while the KBI conducts the investigation. An autopsy will be performed as part of the investigation.