Police were summoned to the area of North 57th Street and Tauromee Avenue around 2:30 p.m. after receiving a call about suspicious person who was standing in the roadway and pointing towards the sky, police said.
Police received a second call from someone who said the man was trying to stop traffic.
Two responding officers approached Womack, 36, before a physical altercation ensued. During the struggle, Womack allegedly wrestled the gun away from one of the officers, according to police.
Police Chief Karl Oakman said at a press conference on Tuesday that the struggle with the officers and the shooting happened quickly. Womack allegedly pointed the gun at one of the officers and was then shot by the second officer. Oakman said both officers feared for their lives.
“Those officers had no choice,” Oakman said. “This whole incident took place in 26 seconds.”
“It is a bad situation there is no way to get around it. It is something that you never wanted to happen,” he said.
Before the shooting, one of the officers tried to de-escalate the situation and calm down Womack but was not able to, Oakman said.
Few other details about the shooting were released. This is the second shooting by a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer in the last few months. In June, officers shot and killed a man holding a gun after he allegedly tried to break into a home.
Womack was taken by ambulance to a hospital in critical condition but he was pronounced dead roughly two hours later, police said. The two officers involved who fought with Womack were also taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries.
Oakman said he hoped to share video of the altercation but would have to wait until the investigation of the shooting is completed.
Womack worked for Kansas City, Kansas Police Department from July 2007 to August 2020. Womack was promoted to detective in September 2018. Oakman said Womack was terminated due to numerous policy violations.
Womack has family members in the police department, Oakman said, but did not know the exact number. The family members have wellness resources available to them.
Michael Kuckelman, an attorney for Womack’s family said in a statement: “The family of Lionel Womack thanks the members of the Kansas City community for your outpouring of support after their devastating loss yesterday.
“They are asking for privacy and your prayers, as they grieve,” according to the statement.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the shooting investigation, which is a standard practice in lethal use-of-force cases.
Police said one of the officers has been with the police department for 17 years and the other officer has been an officer for two years, police said.
Oakman said the police department is conducting a joint investigation with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s office. The Kansas City Police Department is also shadowing the investigation.
In December, Womack filed a federal lawsuit alleging that a Kiowa County, Kansas Sheriff’s deputy intentionally drove over him during an encounter on Aug. 15, 2020.
The dashcam video captured Deputy Jeremy Rodriguez in a patrol truck pursuing Womack who was running, shirtless, across a field at nighttime, the Associated Press reported.
The car chase ended on a dirt road, and Womack took off on foot across a nearby field. The video showed Rodriguez swerving his truck to hit Womack, knocking him to the ground and running over him.
In a statement at the time, Womack said that he wasn’t been speeding nor was he under the influence of anything when he was initially pulled over. His driver’s license, insurance and registration were up to date, Womack said.