A McPherson County Sheriff’s deputy, who shot and killed a suspect after a car chase that started in Newton on Aug. 28, will likely not face charges from the incident and is “immune from prosecution” according to a report filed by McPherson County Prosecutor Gregory Benefiel.
Benefiel’s report stated that Deputy Chris Sommers used the correct force in protecting Cpl. Tony Hawpe with immediate action who was facing “immediate death” after the suspect, William Holmes, had exited his vehicle in the median on I-135 following a crash.
Cpl. Hawpe, who is a K-9 assisted officer with the Newton Police Department, was a part of the chase that started in Newton and ended in McPherson County. Hawpe was attempting to subdue the suspect after the chase ended in a wreck. According to the report, the suspect was trying to wrestle away a gun from Cpl. Hawpe, which resulted in Sommers firing one shot at the suspect and killing him.
The report stated, “Had Holmes gained control of Cpl. Hawpe’s duty weapon, there is no reason to believe that he would not have used it immediately on Cpl. Hawpe and then on other officers on the scene to prevent his arrest.”
Sommers first used bean bag rounds and a Taser when Holmes exited the vehicle, but when those didn’t work, Hawpe ordered a K-9 on Holmes, which also didn’t work.
According to police, speeds reached 150 miles per hour in the car chase. Toxicology reports showed that Holmes had alcohol in his system, as well as signs of recent cocaine usage.
The Dec. 12 report was written after interviews with those involved, including the passenger in the suspect’s vehicle, and from video footage along with forensic reports.