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Shots fired at officers
Suspect may have stolen a vehicle in the Claflin area
William Thomas Frederick Jr.,
William Thomas Frederick Jr.,
Rylan John Whitmer
Rylan John Whitmer

A suspect fleeing from a Hoisington police officer on Saturday fired shots at law enforcement officers’ vehicles during the pursuit, Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir reports.

Law enforcement officers are still looking for the suspected shooter,  William Thomas Frederick Jr., 38, who was a passenger in the vehicle. The driver, Rylan John Whitmer, 21, was arrested.

Bellendir released the following information:

On April 1, at about 2:20 a.m., a Hoisington police officer was investigating a suspicious vehicle near a business in the city of Hoisington. When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled eastbound on K-4 at a high rate of speed. During the pursuit, the Hoisington officer reported on the radio he heard a backfire or gunshot. His vehicle then began to overheat and was disabled. It was later discovered a bullet had struck the radiator in the patrol car.

By this time a Sheriff’s Office sergeant had caught up to the chase and continued pursuit. The suspect vehicle continued east on K-4, entering the city of Claflin and turning onto city streets. When it crashed into a utility box, the vehicle was disabled.

A review of the dash camera in the Sheriff’s Office vehicle indicates a suspect fired at least three shots while the Sheriff’s Office was in pursuit. Sheriff’s deputies captured two of the three occupants of the vehicle at the scene.

The driver was identified as Rylan J. Whitmer, age 21, of Wilson Kansas. Whitmer was charged with possession of methamphetamine, felony attempt to flee and elude and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Whitmer was booked in the Barton County Jail and released late Monday on a $10,000 bond.

A passenger in the vehicle identified as William Thomas Frederick Junior, age 38, fled from the scene and is believed to be the shooter. Frederick’s last known address was in the Salina area. He may also be in Ellsworth or Rice counties. Law enforcement agencies including the United States Marshals Service are currently seeking the whereabouts of Frederick. He is wanted for questioning in reference to attempted murder on the Hoisington officer and aggravated assault of law enforcement officer regarding the deputies.

Frederick was on Community Corrections and listed as an absconder at the time of the incident.  Frederick is described as a white male, medium build, 5 feet, 6 inches tall, 165 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

After the chase, a vehicle was stolen in the Claflin area. It is believed Frederick may be driving a 2015 Toyota RAV4 bearing Kansas tag 602 CVU, bronze in color.

A front seat passenger in the vehicle was initially taken into custody but was later released pending further investigation.