4 federal agents shot, motel destroyed in Kansas

Posted at 11:55 AM, Apr 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-24 13:55:47-04

By Holly Yan and Joe Sutton


(CNN) — What started as a would-be arrest at a Kansas motel ended with four federal agents shot and the motel engulfed in flames.

Officers from the U.S. Marshals Service’s Fugitive Task Forces were looking for a suspect Saturday night at the Country Club Motel, Topeka police Lt. Colleen Stuart said.

But when they reached the motel, someone opened fire and struck two U.S. marshals, an FBI agent and a fourth federal agent, Stuart said. It was not immediately clear which agency the fourth agent belonged to.

Their injuries are not considered life-threatening, Stuart said.

About the same time, a fire broke out at the motel. That blaze burned for more than three hours, engulfing the building and sending flames high into the night sky, CNN affiliate WIBW reported.

Topeka Fire Marshal Michael Martin told WIBW that the motel was destroyed but would not comment on whether the blaze was intentionally set or whether authorities found any bodies inside.

Also uncertain: whether the suspect was still inside or managed to escape.

The suspect is a fugitive who was wanted on a warrant, said Craig Beam, the U.S. marshals spokesman in Topeka. But Beam declined to identify the fugitive or the charges “because it is still under investigation.”

He also declined to release the injured officers’ names but said both the wounded marshals have been released from a hospital.

Some nearby residents initially thought the gunfire might have been firecrackers.

“We were wondering what exactly what it was,” Christian Brull told CNN affiliate KSNT. “There was a couple of shots going on.”

Lindsay Haight and Emerson King told the station the gunfire came very rapidly.

“Fully automatic weapon, for sure, it sounded like,” King said.

CNN’s Carma Hassan and Faith Karimi contributed to this report.