Late Thursday afternoon, Wyandotte County prosecutors announced charges against Jamaal Lewis - the man they said pulled the trigger and killed Kansas City, Kansas, Police Capt. Robert David Melton.
Prosecutors charged Lewis with capital murder, aggravated assault and criminal discharge of a firearm. Prosecutors also charged Daqon Sipple with aggravated assault and use of a deadly weapon in connection to the drive-by shooting Melton and other KCK officers were originally responding to.
To learn more about the suspects, 41 Action News sat down with a former KCK police officer.
Jeff Brownlee served on the department for 20 years before retiring. He specialized in gangs and now works as a consultant for police departments. Brownlee told 41 Action News that pictures Lewis posted on Facebook could be red flags for investigators. Many of the images, according to him, depict gang-related signs.
“This just looks like he is throwing the hand signs for ‘Bloods,’ the letter ‘B.’ There he is again with that same hand sign,” he said while flipping through several of Lewis’ pictures.
Prosecutors said they do not believe gang activity was involved in this specific incident. But Brownlee said the city is facing an uptick in gang-related crimes, including drive-by shootings.
“It’s starting to grow,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of Hispanic gangs, black gangs, white gangs.”
Gangs will typically communicate in non-verbal ways - often times through hand signals, graffiti, colors, tattoos and clothing.
"It used to be a lot of gang-related graffiti. But now those guys who were doing the graffiti is doing more serious things like the drive-by shootings, the robberies, the burglaries,” said Brownlee.
Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.