Girl, 2, fatally shot by police after parent's murder suicide

·News Reporter
·3-min read

A two-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed by police in Kansas, US last month after officers fired a round of shots into a caravan the toddler was living in with her parents.

The fatal shot was a result of a three-and-a-half-hour shootout between local law enforcement and Eli Crawford, 37, who was reportedly holding his daughter Chesslynn and her mum Taylor Shutte, 27, hostage.

Both parents were also killed during the incident. Mr Crawford shot himself after killing Ms Shutte, which is what prompted the stand-off, police said.

The toddler was being held hostage by her father who was involved in a shootout with police. Source: Knell Mortuary/GoFundMe
The toddler was being held hostage by her father who was involved in a shootout with police. Source: Knell Mortuary/GoFundMe

Baxter Springs Police Department responded to a call from Ms Shutte, 27, in response to a domestic situation where it's believed Mr Crawford was forcibly holding them hostage.

When police arrived at the scene Mr Crawford slammed the door in their faces, but Chesslynn reportedly opened the door of the caravan, officials said in a press release according to the Kansas City Star.

When she did, her mum ran outside, with Mr Crawford following and shooting her dead.

According to reports, Mr Crawford then started shooting at police, who returned fire, before barricading himself inside with his daughter where he continued to shoot.

Mr Crawford is "believed to have used several guns to fire over 90 rounds" at authorities, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KB) said in the original statement.

Backup was called and when the Joplin Police Department SWAT arrived, a member of the team reportedly fired a round into the caravan with Mr Crawford and his daughter inside.

When Mr Crawford stopped firing about an hour later, officers entered the caravan where they found the bodies of the father and daughter.

Joplin police said on Monday that "preliminary information has been found to show that Clesslynn Crawford was struck and killed by the round fired by the Joplin officer," according to Metro.

Police responded to the call from the distressed mother. Source: Baxter Springs Police Department
Police responded to the call from the distressed mother. Source: Baxter Springs Police Department

That officer has not been identified by the Joplin Police Department but has been placed on routine administrative leave, per department policy, the publication said.

The KBI, who is looking into the incident, reportedly said on Monday that Mr Crawford appears to have died of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound — and not a shot fired by the officer.

“This is a horrific outcome to what had already started as a very tragic incident,” Police Chief Sloan Rowland said in a statement to Joplin Globe.

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families involved and the surrounding community. We ask that you pray for the victims and everyone involved."

Whether or not criminal charges will be filed against the offending officer will be determined once the investigation is complete.

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