TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Criminal charges have been filed against a 17-year-old for the shooting death of 18-year-old Justice Mitchell.
According to Shawnee County District Attorney Michael Kagay criminal charges were filed Thursday against Lamero Dunstan in connection with the June 26 shooting.
Dunstan was arrested on Tuesday and now faces two felony charges including first degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery.
During the early morning hours on June 26, Topeka Police responded to a shooting in west Topeka near 10th and SW Billard Ave., in the parking lot of a Church’s Chicken. When officers arrived on scene, they found Mitchell in the 3000 block of SW 10th with life-threatening gunshot wounds.
He was transported to a local hospital where he later died. He was a May 2017 graduate of Shawnee Heights High School and was expected to attend Washburn University this fall.
Dunstan has been charged as a juvenile offender. Kagay is seeking authorization to prosecute him as an adult. It’s a move Mitchell’s father, Mayo Mitchell agrees with.
“Seventeen, yes, I believe he knew what he wanted and he did what he did and once you do something like that, repercussions occur so yes I think he should be tried, no. I don’t think, I know he should be tried as an adult,” said Mitchell.
The murder is raising some questions about violence in Topeka and how teens are getting their hands on weapons in the first place.
“There’s always going to be weapons available and people wanting to do crime and there’s going to be good people wanting to prevent crime,” said Shawnee County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Justin Vest.
He said it takes time for a community to recover from the kind of violence Topeka has experienced recently.
“There’s no one way to fix anything that’s broken in the community,” he said “It’s just going to take everybody working together and trying to get through it as a community.”
A detention hearing took place Thursday afternoon in Shawnee County District Court wherein future hearings will be scheduled. He is set to make his first court appearance August 1.
If tried and convicted as an adult, Dunstan could face a life-sentence with no possibility for parole until serving at least 25 years.
Kagay tells KSNT News Topeka Police made the arrest based on probable cause. The Topeka Police Department sent reports and affidavit to Kagay’s office for the charging decision.
The Topeka Police Department is still handling the investigation.