BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) has released more information about a fatal hostage incident in Baxter Springs in southeast Kansas. The KBI said its investigation revealed that an officer’s gunshot killed a toddler during the incident.
On Saturday, Mar. 26, the Baxter Springs Police Department responded to a call from a woman asking for help.
When officers arrived at 340 Wyandotte Avenue, they knocked on the door of the residence, which was a pull-behind camping trailer.
They say Eli Crawford, 37, of Baxter Springs, answered the door but slammed it shut after seeing it was police officers. A two-year-old girl reopened the door, and the girl’s mother ran outside.
The officers say Crawford then stepped out and shot and killed the woman and fired at the four responding officers. The officers backed to a safe distance and did not fire any shots. Instead, they called for additional help.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, the Joplin Police Department’s SWAT Team, the KBI, and the Kansas Highway Patrol responded.
During the nearly four-hour-long incident, Crawford is believed to have used several guns to fire over 90 rounds from the trailer at responding law enforcement officers. At approximately 9:25 p.m., a law enforcement officer fired one round into the camping trailer.
Officers approached the home and found Crawford dead inside from a gunshot wound. The woman, Taylor Shutte, 27, of Webb City, Missouri, was dead. And the couple’s two-year-old girl, Clesslynn Crawford, was also dead from a gunshot wound.
The KBI said it is still investigating but has reached these preliminary findings:
- Shutte was killed after she was struck by multiple gunshots fired by Crawford.
- Crawford died of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.
- Clesslynn Crawford died as a result of the single round fired by an officer from the Joplin Police Department.
The Joplin Police Department put one of the SWAT Team members on administrative leave after the shooting.
The KBI is asking the public for patience as its agents finish their work. It says the incident is being thoroughly and independently investigated.
Once the investigation concludes, the KBI findings will be presented to the Cherokee County Attorney to determine if criminal charges will be filed.