The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has released preliminary findings from an investigation into a standoff that left three people dead on March 26th. The investigation has determined that a police officer fired a shot that killed a two-year-old girl during the standoff.
The officer was from a SWAT team with the Joplin, Missouri Police Department. The officer was placed on routine administrative leave and Joplin police have been conducting their own internal investigation.
Police were called to a home in Baxter Springs, Kansas on a report of a domestic disturbance. The KBI said 37-year-old Eli Crawford shot and killed 26-year-old Taylor Shutte, the mother of their child, as the confrontation began. Crawford then fired shots at officers for several hours. A member of the Joplin SWAT team fired a shot into the home and the investigation found that this shot killed two-year-old Clesslyn Crawford. Eli Crawford was found dead in the home, and it’s believed that he shot himself.
The KBI said the investigation is ongoing and when it is completed, the findings will be presented to the Cherokee County Attorney to determine if any criminal charges will be filed.
The Joplin Police Department released its own statement on the investigation, which read in part:
This is a horrific outcome to what had already started as a very tragic incident. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families involved and the surrounding community. We ask that you pray for the victims and everyone involved.
The Joplin Police Department is actively cooperating with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation as part of the ongoing investigation.