A Kansas City (Kan.) Police Department detective killed in the line of duty this week hailed from Weston, Mo. and previously worked for the Platte County Sheriff’s Office.
In the shocking aftermath of Brad Lancaster’s death, many in the area recalled his service in the military before returning home to work for a local law enforcement agency. He then took the job in KCK while relocating his family into the Piper School District.
Lancaster, 39, leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
Many in Platte County were connected to Lancaster, who graduated from West Platte High School in 1994 before joining the U.S. Air Force. He served two tours of duty overseas before returning home and eventually joining the Platte County Sheriff’s Office.
Lancaster worked for the department from August of 1998 to July 2007, starting out in detention and advancing on to patrol. He spent the past nine years in KCK.
“He was a good officer,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Shanks of the Platte County Sheriff’s Office. “He was well respected. He had a lot of friend up here — still does.”
Although working across the border for nearly a decade, Lancaster’s investigations often put him in contact with former colleagues in Platte County. This kept the relationship close with the local sheriff’s office, especially because Wyandotte County, Kan. shares such a strong border with Platte County just across the Missouri River.
“A lot of people don’t realize just because they leave for another agency, we work with a lot of other agencies. Water doesn’t stop crime,” Shanks said.
In a recent Facebook post, Lancaster reminisced about an experience in the 2003 demolition derby at the Platte County Fair and injuries he suffered when the car he drove that night caught fire. Many of his pictures show him enjoying Kansas City Royals games.
Authorities have 28-year-old Curtis Ayers in custody in connection with Lancaster’s death. According to reports, the suspect wounded the detective when the two exchanged gunfire at about 12:30 p.m. Monday, May 9 on an outer road near Kansas Speedway.
The gunman believed to be Ayers then fled in the detective’s unmarked police car before he later hijacked a vehicle with two children inside while continuing to flee from authorities. He eventually abandoned the car in Basehor, Kan. leaving the kids unharmed before stealing another vehicle from a residence.
Authorities eventually arrested Ayers in Missouri when he crashed the third stolen car.
Officers pursuing him then shot and wounded the suspect as he attempted to carjack another vehicle at about 2:30 p.m. He was in a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Authorities confirmed Lancaster’s death from his injuries about an hour later.
According to reports, authorities were responding to Hollywood Casino near Kansas Speedway on reports of a suspicious party. Ayers received a ride to the location from a friend but left the acquaintance’s car before tucking a gun in his waistband.
According to records, Ayers had been recently paroled from prison following convictions on multiple charges in Leavenworth County, Kan.
Responding officers tried to stop Ayers as he walked in the area near the casino before he took off running through a grass field toward the speedway. Already in the area in his unmarked car, Lancaster attempted to intervene before shots were fired, leaving the officer wounded.
A tweet from KCK police chief Terry Ziegler about an hour and a half later indicated Lancaster went in for surgery. At 5:35 p.m., Ziegler confirmed his officer’s death, saying, “Our Detective fought a good fight, but unfortunately he died from his injuries @ approx. 1530 hours. Thanks for the support & prayers.”
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4 held a candlelight vigil to celebrate Lancaster’s life on Tuesday night at Kansas City (Kan.) City Hall.