Shotgun Fired Into Vehicle at Kansas McDonald's

Jan. 9, 2013
Wichita police said that no one was injured in the incident Wednesday morning.

Deborah Bennington remembers seeing a shotgun pointed at her, from maybe eight feet away.

The barrel seemed to go on and on. "Infinite," she said.

Bennington recounted the moments when a blast from the shotgun hit her car door Wednesday morning in the drive-through at a McDonald's at West Kellogg and Dugan.

It began, the 45-year-old wife and mother of six said, after an SUV butted in front of her Buick in the drive-through around 7:30 a.m.

Bennington, who works in the circulation department for The Eagle, said she and her brother had pulled into the drive-through for hot chocolate and breakfast sandwiches when a black Chevy Blazer with tinted windows in the back pulled in from the side, at a right angle to her car.

"I'm like, 'What are these people trying to do?' "

Her first thought: To not let the other driver bully her. So she inched forward. The woman driving the Blazer rolled down her window and said something, but Bennington couldn't hear the words.

The Blazer cut in front of her, wedging in so tightly that when Bennington braked, her 1990 Buick LeSabre rocked forward and tapped the Blazer, she said. She had been a newspaper carrier and bought the stout car to protect her from deer strikes.

According to Bennington, the other woman got out of the Blazer and called her a bad name. Bennington yelled back, something not very nice.

Bennington stared at the Blazer license plate and memorized the number.

The woman in the Blazer stopped at a window and traded out a bag of food. But after the Blazer pulled forward and turned, it backed up, partly blocking her way, Bennington said.

"I'm like, 'What is she doing?' "

When Bennington inched forward, she said, the other woman got out of the Blazer and threw a crowbar at her Buick. Bennington heard a "thunk" and inched forward some more.

That's when a man stepped out of the back door of the Blazer and aimed the shotgun.

Something in her brain clicked.

"Flee," her brain said.

Her foot hit the accelerator, and a shotgun blast rang out -- "a loud, open boom, like you would hear when they shoot off the fireworks, the big ones. And I was at that moment, 'He's just shot at me.' "

The blast hit thick metal seams between her door and the back door, sending pellets into the door panel but not into her or her 40-year-old brother, seated next to her.

"If it had just been a few more inches forward, it would have gone through" the door, she said.

She drove across the street and eventually circled back to the McDonald's, calling 911 on her cellphone on the way.

Through the day, her emotions shifted: from anger, to feeling drained, to humor.

"My body hasn't calmed down still," she said Wednesday evening.

After being interviewed at police offices, she and her brother hugged each other.

"We were like, 'We could have got killed.' "

Police said they tracked at least one of the suspects to a house on Newell, near Central and Meridian. Through much of the day, police cars blocked the street in front of the house. Wednesday afternoon, officers wearing protective gear and carrying tactical weapons entered the house with a search warrant and took three people into custody, police Lt. Doug Nolte said.

Bennington learned a lesson.

"I guess I won't yell out the window obscene things anymore."

Copyright 2013 - The Wichita Eagle

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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