Gun-waving pedestrian subdued
An intoxicated, emotionally disturbed man waving a handgun while staggering through traffic at 6:24 p.m. Sunday in the 400 block of S. Ash St. in Hillsboro was arrested after a sheriff’s deputy subdued him with an electroshock weapon.
Suspect Zachary M. Burwell, 24, Salina, was thought to have been under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time, according to an offense report filed by Hillsboro police officer David Funk.
Monitored radio transmissions indicate officers were told Burwell also had a history of emotional disturbance.
After being checked by Hillsboro ambulance attendants, Burwell was taken by Hillsboro police to Hillsboro Community Hospital for observation.
The next afternoon, after he emerged from sedation, he was transferred by police to county jail, where he was booked and released four hours later — without bond, according to jail records, but on a $10,000 surety bond, according to Hillsboro police.
Police were called to Ash St. near Great Plains Federal Credit Union and Memorial Park after county dispatchers received numerous calls about a man waving a gun and staggering through traffic.
Working through initial confusion over the location, Funk was joined by three sheriff’s deputies.
A state trooper monitoring county radio transmissions from McPherson also headed toward Hillsboro, but the suspect was in custody before the trooper arrived.
An additional Hillsboro officer who had just completed a shift also was called back to assist.
A caller told dispatchers the weapon being waved was not loaded, but dispatchers could not verify this.
At 6:31 p.m., deputy Landon Goodman reported that a Taser had been deployed to apprehend Burwell.
According to assistant chief Randy Brazil, Burwell had dropped his weapon but would not follow other commands from police on the scene.
The incident reportedly began with an argument between Burwell and his 27-year-old girlfriend at a residence in the 700 block of S. Lincoln St.
Brazil said the pair were trying to make things better between them.
Apparently, the effort did not go as Burwell planned.
In addition to allegedly threatening Funk with a deadly weapon, Burwell is accused of having knowingly rude physical contact with her.
He also is accused of having rude, insulting, or angry contact with a 17-year-old female acquaintance and of causing an estimated $200 in damage to a vehicle owned by Team Marketing Alliance of Moundridge.
Circumstances of those incidents were not clear. However, neither female was injured, according to Funk’s report.
Officers and deputies remained at HCH until after 9 p.m., according to monitored transmissions, and at one point declined to reveal Burwell’s location to his mother, who had telephoned dispatchers to ask where her son was.
Brazil commended officers for their handling of the situation.
“It very well could have turned out different than it did,” he said.
Staff writer Phyllis Zorn contributed to this story
Last modified March 16, 2022