WATCH: Kansas City Police Shot ‘Hero’ Protecting His Family. Months Later, They Clear His Name

Mike Becker of Independence said he intervened when a gunman threatened customers, including his wife and daughter, inside a Dollar General store. When police arrived, he dropped his gun and raised his hands — and then was shot by an officer, witnesses said.

Nearly five months after shooting two men, Independence police cleared one man’s name and released the identity of another man who died from his wounds.

The shooting occurred Jan. 30 outside a Dollar General at East 23rd Street and East Westport Road. Mike Becker rushed to the area to protect his wife and child, who were huddling inside the store with other customers in fear of an armed, erratic man outside, witnesses told The Star days after the shooting.

On Friday, Independence police confirmed their accounts, clearing Becker’s name.

“The investigation has revealed that the second person shot during the altercation, Michael Becker, was present at the scene, but was not engaged in wrongdoing,” John Syme, a spokesman with Independence police, said in a statement.

Police identified Kevin Hellebuyck, 45, as the other man shot. Hellebuyck died as a result of his wounds about two weeks later, on Feb. 12, police said.

When officers arrived that evening, they encountered “two armed subjects involved in an altercation,” police said Friday. “Mr. Hellebuyck shot at police and was then shot and critically injured by officers returning fire.”

The Independence Police Department, which continues to conduct an internal investigation of the incident, declined The Star’s requests for months to release Hellebuyck’s identity.

The case remains open with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, Syme added.

Becker’s attorney told The Star that the city of Independence “entered into a confidential settlement” with Becker.

Tom Porto, a civil attorney with the Kansas City-based Popham Law Firm, said he could not reveal details of the settlement. A record request with Independence police for the settlement amount was not immediately answered Friday night.

“From the get-go, it was pretty clear that Mike didn’t do anything wrong,” Porto said. “Mike Becker was a hero that night.”

Porto was critical of Independence police for not clearing Becker’s name earlier.

“But it is nice that they came out to clear his name,” Porto said. “As with any instance of police excessive force, you just hope that these instances don’t detract from all the good work that members of law enforcement do for us every day.”

In an interview with The Star shortly after the shooting, Becker said he ran to the Dollar General from his nearby workplace when he learned his family was trapped inside the Dollar General with a gunman outside.

He said he put his body between the gunman and the store, protecting those inside.

“The only thing in my mind was my baby and wife,” he said then. “There was no way the gunman was getting in that store.”

His wife hid their daughter behind bags of dog food in a back aisle.

Witnesses said they were incredulous when Becker was shot after Independence officers arrived. He had complied with their orders by dropping his weapon and raising his hands, the witnesses said.

Becker was shot in the hip. He said he will walk with a limp for the rest of his life and will likely suffer arthritis.

“I was figuring, ‘How the hell do they shoot him?’ He never pointed a gun at the cops,” said witness Raymond Watts of Kansas City. “He complied with everything they said … and then you heard a pop.”

Source: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article213690339.html

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5620 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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