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Bushton man dies following Thursday night altercation
Even though shots were reported, victim died of blunt force trauma

 LORRAINE —  Kevin L. Wagner, 55, of Bushton died Saturday in a Wichita hospital after receiving a head injury Thursday during an altercation in Lorraine, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation reported Monday afternoon. The preliminary autopsy report indicated he died from blunt force trauma.

Meanwhile, the KBI and the Ellsworth County Sheriff’s Office probe into last Thursday’s aggravated battery in Lorraine continues. At this time no arrests have been made connected to this incident and the investigation is ongoing, according to a KBI news release. No further information will be released at this time. 

Preliminary information reported by the KBI indicated that at about 8:55 p.m. Thursday, the Ellsworth County Sheriff’s Office responded to 242 Harry St., Lorraine, after neighbors called law enforcement reporting a disturbance and gunshots fired. 

Authorities have not said the victim’s injuries were gunshot related.

The ECSO requested assistance from the KBI on Thursday night at approximately 10 p.m. Agents and a crime scene response team responded. 

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found Wagner and a 49-year-old female who resided at the Lorraine home. It appeared that they had been involved in a confrontation that became violent. 

EMS was immediately called and Wagner was flown to a Wichita hospital due to a life threatening head injury.

Why is the KBI involved?

According to the KBI, many law enforcement agencies in Kansas do not have enough personnel or specialized training to investigate major violent crimes. In general, it’s common for the KBI to become involved in investigations where what occurred at the scene of a crime is difficult to determine. 

Small local jurisdictions might be more inclined to investigate a death or other major criminal case on their own if the suspect and circumstances of the crime are more apparent. Most agencies in Kansas have eight or fewer officers/deputies, so pulling them from their routine patrol/public safety duties to solve a major case can be very difficult for small agencies.

Local reactions

Lorraine Mayor Dennis Boyer said he can’t recall a similar shooting in the dozen years he has lived in Lorraine, the Ellsworth County Independent Reporter is reporting.

Eric Vedder, manager of the Lorraine Co-op, said those he has spoken with are shocked that something like this could happen in their community.      “It’s pretty devastating to have an incident like this,” Vedder said.

Lorraine residents reported that around seven emergency vehicles were in town, including agents and a crime scene response team.

Lorraine has a population of 135, according to 2016 U.S. Census data. It is about 14 miles from Ellsworth in the  southwest corner of Ellsworth County.