TOPEKA, Kan. — A black man fatally shot by two police officers in Kansas’ capital city was less than five months out of prison after being prosecuted on felony burglary and illegal gun possession charges, state records show.
Authorities confirmed Friday that 30-year-old Dominique Tyrell White had a criminal record and spent seven months in prison starting in October 2016. A telephone listing for an east Topeka address for him could not be found, and listings for his neighbors were not available or had been disconnected.
White died Thursday. Topeka police said officers encountered him while responding to a report of a disturbance and shots being fired near a park. They said he struggled with officers, attempted to flee and reached for a pocket containing a handgun, prompting the officers to fire at him. They said his gun was recovered at the scene.
Authorities have not released names or any other details about the officers involved in the shooting. Police in Lawrence, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Topeka, have taken over the investigation.
Lawrence police confirmed White’s listing in a state Department of Corrections database of current and former prison inmates available online. But they declined to say whether his status as a former inmate played a role in the events leading to the shooting.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” Lawrence officer Drew Fennelly said in an email Friday morning.
Department of Corrections records and online court records for Shawnee County, where Topeka is located, show that White was ordered to serve probation after pleading guilty to burglary in 2015. Two other charges were dropped. He was discharged in August 2016, as prosecutors were pursuing the illegal gun possession case against him.
He went to prison that October, after pleading no contest to a felony charge of illegally possessing a firearm as a felon. Court records show another charge of making a criminal threat was dismissed. He was paroled in May.
Department of Corrections spokesman Samir Arif said Friday that White missed a meeting with a parole officer in early June, causing the state to increase its supervision of him. After that, Arif said, there were “no issues” until Thursday’s shooting.
This story has been corrected to show that court records show White was placed on probation for burglary in 2015, rather than being sent to prison.
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