Ayers receives life in prison for killing officer, Weston native

Curtis Ayers received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, bring to a conclusion the court proceedings in the death of Weston, Mo. native Brad Lancaster, killed in the line of duty last year while serving the Kansas City (Kan.) Police Department.

On Tuesday, March 14, a Wyandotte County (Kan.) judge handed down the sentence to Ayers, who pleaded guilty in January to capital murder in the May shooting of Lancaster. According to Wyandotte County prosecuting attorney Jerome Gorman, the plea agreement had been discussed with members of Lancaster’s family, who supported the deal. 

Brad Lancaster

Brad Lancaster

In addition to capital murder in Lancaster’s death, Ayers pleaded guilty to nine other felonies stemming from the events of May 9, 2016, charges including robbery, kidnapping and being a felon in possession of a gun. The Tonganoxie, Kan. man received another 41 years for those crimes to be served consecutively with the life sentence.

Lancaster was just 39 years old.

A graduate of West Platte High School in 1994, Lancaster served in the U.S. Air Force with two tours overseas — the first as a military policeman in Kuwait during Desert Shield and another in Saudi Arabia. From August of 1998 to July 2007, Lancaster worked for the Platte County Sheriff’s Office. He also volunteered as a firefighter for the West Platte and South Platte fire protection districts.

As Valedictorian Graduate of the Kansas City (Kan.) Police Academy, Lancaster quickly rose to the rank of detective in the KCK Police Department. He spent his last nine years working for the KCK Police Department.

According to Gorman, Lancaster and other officers were responding to the call of a suspicious person in the area of Hollywood Casino on May 9. They encountered Ayers, who ignored instructions from officer and attempted to flee the scene.

Lancaster attempted to block his path with his patrol car when Ayers drew a handgun from his waistband and fired shots into the vehicle from about 8 feet away. Lancaster suffered seven gunshot wounds and died later at a local hospital.

Ayers fled the scene in the detective’s car and later stole two more vehicles, including one with two children inside. Authorities eventually shot and apprehended Ayers in Kansas City, Mo. after he crashed one of the stolen vehicles near Bannister Road.

Charges against Ayers in Jackson County (Mo.) and Leavenworth County (Kan.) remain pending.

Lancaster was rushed to KU Medical Center, where he went into surgery before succumbing to his injuries. He left behind his wife Jamie and two daughters. 

Thousands showed up to mourn Lancaster’s death on a sunny afternoon in early May at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. — the home of Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City. Many more lined up along the funeral procession route, which led through Platte County to his burial site at Graceland Cemetery in downtown Weston, Mo.