CHETOPA — A Chetopa man died early Monday morning in his home when he allegedly confronted Chetopa police with a rifle while they served a search warrant. A Chetopa police officer fired three bullets and killed the man.
The man, Scott A. Souders, 38, was pronounced dead in his home. An autopsy has been requested.
Chetopa police served the warrant at 12:14 a.m. Monday and notified the county’s dispatch center at 12:18 a.m. that shots had been fired. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which investigates officer-involved shootings, was called two minutes later. Officers and deputies secured the scene while waiting on the KBI.
Police were searching for evidence of marijuana cultivation inside Souders’ 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath brick home at 1110 Cherry St. Souders’ home was built in 2009, according to the Labette County appraiser’s website. Souders’ Facebook page indicates he was an electrician.
The KBI said Chetopa police had received earlier information indicating there may be possible drug activity at Souders’ residence. Further investigation led them to seek a search warrant. After knocking and announcing their presence several times, three Chetopa officers entered the home. They moved through the house in an attempt to safely determine if anyone was inside. As the first officer inside the house made his way down the hallway, he encountered an armed Souders and fired three shots, the KBI said in a prepared statement.
All officers quickly left the house and took cover. The Labette County Sheriff’s Department responded. Once deputies were outside the home, officers called for the occupants of the house to come out. Soon after, a 25-year-old woman came out. The woman reported that the only other person still inside was the man officers previously encountered and that he required medical attention, the KBI said.
Police again entered the home and found Souders suffering from gunshot wounds. A rifle was discovered near him. EMS responded. Souders was declared dead by EMS.
No law enforcement officers were injured during the incident.
The release said the KBI will conduct a thorough investigation. The Crime Scene Response Team remained on scene later Monday morning.
Once the investigation is completed, the findings will be turned over to the Labette County Attorney for review. No further information will be released at this time.
Souders had a limited criminal history that included a 2009 conviction for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, according to records on file in Labette County District Court.
He had been charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and cultivation of marijuana, both felonies, among other charges in 2008. His attorney filed a motion to suppress evidence, disputing the original verbal consent to search Souders’ home on Xavier Road south of Oswego. Information from that search and information provided by Souders led authorities to marijuana plants growing in a field. The result of that motion to suppress was not listed in the court record, although the plea to a misdemeanor charge followed.