MULBERRY — Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies surrounded a house in Mulberry for hours Thursday in an apparent standoff with suspects wanted for a recent crime spree that included evading arrest on several occasions.
Shortly after 8 p.m., authorities reportedly announced a search warrant and used a flash bang before entering the residence. 28-year-old William Patton of Pittsburg and 21-year-old Kaitlyn McMurry of Girard — who were wanted on charges including aggravated battery, aggravated assault, criminal possession of a firearm and fleeing and eluding — were reportedly arrested.
“We’re just trying to see if we can get this resolved and see if we can get it confirmed that they’re in there,” Crawford County Sheriff Danny Smith said at the scene of the standoff earlier in the evening Thursday, “so it’s kind of an ongoing event for us here.”
Besides Smith's department, agencies involved in the standoff included the Pittsburg Police Department, Mulberry Police Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and possibly the Kansas Highway Patrol, Smith said, as well as Missouri authorities, who he said he believed were Barton County Sheriff’s deputies.
Authorities remained on the scene at 6:45 p.m. surrounding the residence, which appeared to be somewhere in the vicinity between 12th and 14th streets and Military Ave. in Mulberry, where they had been for several hours Thursday. A KBI official said she did not know the exact location of the residence.
“It’s over, Will,” officers could be heard saying over loudspeakers, and telling Patton to come out of the residence.
Around 4:45 p.m., authorities reportedly deployed tear gas in an effort to get the suspects to leave the house. A drone was also reportedly seen in the area.
“We have several agencies just helping with blocking traffic and all that good stuff,” Smith said. “So yeah, right now we’re just trying to confirm that we have somebody in there and trying to do it in a safe manner.”
Earlier in the day a Pittsburg Police Department representative said it was still under investigation whether Patton had been involved in a police pursuit in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Joplin. That pursuit, which began shortly after midnight, reportedly involved a maroon pickup truck matching the description of one that allegedly fled the scene of an attempt Sunday, Jan. 19, to apprehend Patton and McMurry in Pittsburg.
That attempt to apprehend the two fugitives followed an alleged crime spree which included at least two other successful evasions of authorities in Pittsburg and Woodson County, according to the Pittsburg Police Department.
Patton, who was formerly convicted of aggravated battery and aggravated assault in 2014 through the Crawford County District Court and sentenced to five years in prison, also allegedly held a firearm to a female victim’s head Dec. 31 and brandished a firearm during an unrelated altercation Jan. 8. Crimes Patton and McMurry are wanted for additionally include the theft of two firearms.
During the Jan. 19 attempt to apprehend Patton an officer discharged their department-issued handgun, according to the Pittsburg Police Department, and Patton almost struck one of the officers when fleeing the scene in the maroon Chevy Silverado pickup truck.
This is a developing story. We will continue to report additional information as it becomes available.