Mo. Man In Custody After Struggle With Trooper

Kansas City police say a man wanted on suspicion of scuffling with a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper and taking his sidearm is now in custody.


 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. --

Kansas City police said a man wanted on suspicion of scuffling with a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper and taking his sidearm is now in custody.

 Kansas City police said Justin Heller surrendered about 1:25 p.m. after officers surrounded a house in the 700 block of Jackson Avenue. Authorities said Heller was wanted in connection with a pursuit and scuffle with a Highway Patrol trooper. Investigators said the trooper's sidearm was taken and a shot had been fired at the trooper. The trooper was not hurt.

Police and Missouri Highway Patrol troopers had been searching d a neighborhood near the 4500 block of East Seventh Street since about 7 a.m. after a minivan matching the description of the stolen van was found burned in that area.

KMBC's Jana Corrie reported that the lengthy search started when Cameron police chased a stolen pickup truck from Kearney. A Missouri Highway Patrol trooper heard the chase go by his house and joined the pursuit a short time later. The Highway Patrol said the pickup went across traffic on Interstate 35 and PP Highway and crashed. Corrie reported that the trooper came upon the crash and scuffled with the pickup driver.

According to the Highway Patrol, the man then stole a 1998 Dodge Caravan.

Authorities pursued the minivan through Holt and Liberty before losing sight of it near Highway 291 and Liberty Drive. Kansas City police later found the burned vehicle in east Kansas City.

Neighbors Watch Standoff Ordeal

"We got a tip he was in this area," said Collin Strasberg of the Missouri Highway Patrol. "This is an area he is familiar with."

Investigators followed him to a house and confirmed that he was holed up inside. Strasberg said troopers were very careful in how they handled the situation.

"Any time you're involved in a high-speed chase and the other things that went on, you have to care. It's a dangerous situation."

Neighbors said it was frightening to see heavily-armed police on their street.

"It's kind of scary, you know? Given this guy's state of mind, it's scary," said Luis Hernandez.

Troopers opened negotiations with Heller and a woman left the house at one point. Police said they believe she was Heller's girlfriend. Heller surrendered a short time later.

Investigators said he faced numerous charges, including assaulting a state trooper. He was being held on a $250,000 cash bond.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

Copyright 2011 by KMBC.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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