Man Who Sued Deputy for Running Over Him Fatally Shot by Officer After Grabbing Gun

Lionel Womack, a former Kansas City, Kansas police officer, was shot and killed Monday after disarming another officer and pointing the gun at another officer, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The encounter began after police received multiple 911 calls about a man trying to jump in front of traffic in Kansas City and pointing at the sky.

Womack started his career with the Kansas City police department in 2007 and was promoted to detective in 2018, before being terminated in August 2020 after multiple conduct issues and policy violations.

"We don't know what happened in his life that caused him to spiral like this," Police Chief Karl Oakman said at a Tuesday news conference.

When officers arrived at the scene Monday, Womack reportedly ran toward the officers and their car and tried to enter the passenger side of the patrol car, reaching behind his back, causing officers to believe he may have had a weapon, which led to them drawing their weapons. He then tried to get in the driver's seat, and fought with the officer who tried to get him out of the vehicle.

Womack then disarmed the officer, pointing the gun at both officers, which led to the officer who was still armed shooting and killing Womack, in an incident that began and ended in less than half a minute.

"Those officers had no choice—this whole incident took place in 26 seconds," Oakman said, also remarking the incident was all captured on body cameras and the dashcam of the car.

Last year, Womack filed an excessive force lawsuit alleging that Kiowa County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Rodriguez intentionally hit him with a car in August 2020, in an incident captured on dashcam video. Rodriguez has denied the allegations and said qualified immunity applies in the case.

For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below:

Lionel Womack, Kansas City Police
Lionel Womack, a former Kansas police detective who last year sued a sheriff's deputy for running over him in a rural field, has been fatally shot by a police officer in Kansas City after disarming an officer and pointing a gun at another, police said Tuesday. This March 2020, file photo, provided by Lionel Womack shows him at home in Kansas City, Kansas. Lionel Womack/Lionel Womack via AP, File

In the video of the Monday incident, one officer can be heard saying to the other, "Man, you just saved my life," the police chief said.

The two officers received non life-threatening injuries.

"He knows our tactics," Oakman said. "I think that contributed to his ability to disarm our officer, which made it a very dangerous situation for our officers."

Womack came from a law enforcement family. His wife and mother are police officers in Kansas City, Kansas, and his stepfather is a retired police sergeant. Two aunts are city police dispatchers.

His wife, Zee Womack, tearfully told the Associated Press that her husband was killed in the altercation and that at least one of the officers involved knew him. She declined to comment further because she is still employed as a Kansas City police officer, and the investigation is ongoing.

"The family of Lionel Womack thanks the members of the Kansas City community for your outpouring of support after their devastating loss yesterday," said Michael Kuckelman, the attorney representing him in that lawsuit. "They are asking for privacy and your prayers, as they grieve."

Police spokesman Thomas Tomasic said "we were all friends with the guy," adding that everybody knew him and nobody had a problem with him. He said officers didn't know the 911 calls involved Womack until they arrived at the scene.

He said there was no connection between the Kiowa County case and Monday's confrontation.

"He was a nice guy. He used to always come to the office and talk to us," Tomasic said. "It is very weird. It is horrible. We don't like to kill anybody. We obviously don't want to kill somebody you work with for however many years."

Lionel Womack, Kansas City Police
Police in Kansas City, Kansas allegedly shot and killed former police detective Lionel Womack after he disarmed and threatened two officers Monday. Police tape hangs across the street in front of the house that Dennis Rader lives in February 26, 2005 in Park City, Kansas. Larry W. Smith/Getty Images