KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A suspect armed with an assault rifle was shot and killed by Kansas City, Kansas, police Tuesday morning near State Avenue and Village West Parkway by the Legends Outlets.
The manager of the nearby Country Inn and Suites, Jacob Honeycutt, said the suspect came into the hotel around 9:30 a.m. and told employees he was heavily armed and heading to the Legends.
Police confirmed the man also told hotel staff that he had killed his wife. Surveillance images obtained by 41 Action News show the man inside the hotel, moments before he was shot by police.
A 41 Action News source and an eyewitness subsequently identified the suspect police killed as Charles Pearson. Police on Wednesday confirmed the man shot and killed was Pearson, 51.
Pearson’s wife, Sylvia Ussery-Pearson, has been missing since Monday morning. According to Overland Park police, her family said her disappearance was extremely out of character.
Lenexa police were also at Charles Pearson's home Tuesday in connection to the missing person case. A spokesman said that the Overland Park Police Department asked their officers to assist. Lenexa police secured the perimeter of the house, but did not go inside.
The Cass County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday afternoon that it is assisting Overland Park police in searching an area south of Harrisonville in connection with the missing person case.
The couple was separated, police told 41 Action News.
Overland Park police told 41 Action News that they are currently searching several rural areas, not just the one in Cass County, and have been pinging Sylvia's cell phone in an effort to locate her.
The search in Cass County, which included the FBI, was called off shortly after 6 p.m. upon receiving new information from the Overland Park police. It's unclear what that information might have been or if Ussery-Pearson has been found.
Police declined to identify the other areas being searched, but said when Sylvia left her home on Monday morning she was picked up and left voluntarily.
After Charles Pearson left the hotel on Tuesday morning, Honeycutt said he followed him outside and tried to take photos of his car and license plate. He said the suspect ran several stop signs in the area as he left.
Hotel staff called police, who found Pearson at State Avenue and Village West Parkway around 9:55 a.m. Officers surrounded the man and he began to shoot, firing five or six shots, police said. Police returned fire, killing him.
No one else was injured in the incident, police said.
Shoppers at the Legends were advised to stay inside while police cleared the scene. Shortly before 10:45 a.m., customers were given the all-clear.
UPDATE: As of 10:40am, the KCKPD and KCKFD are clearing the scene, and Legends Outlets is operating as normal business. Thank you to our security team, the KCKPD and KCKPD for keeping us safe.— Legends Outlets (@LegendsShopping) August 13, 2019
Guests at the Country Inn and Suites said they were grateful that nothing happened at the hotel.
"They say he was heavily armed, so I'm just glad that he didn't choose this as a place," said Cyndee Haviland, who is visiting from Lansing, Michigan. "We were standing right here."
K.C. Huth, a player for the Cleburne Railroaders, described a "frantic" scene at the hotel.
"Everyone here was kind of on panic mode," said Huth, who said the baseball team was staying at the hotel ahead of Tuesday's game against the Kansas City T-Bones. "It was a real surreal situation, but I'm just glad everyone is safe around here."
The shopping center released a statement following the incident, saying the suspect was never at the Legends.
"At no point was the suspect at Legends Outlets," the statement read. "The incident was contained to the Village West area, roughly a half mile from Legends Outlets at Village West Parkway and State Avenue, currently closed as part of an ongoing investigation."
The statement said the shopping center was open Tuesday with access from the Parallel Parkway entrances.
"Thank you to the KCKPD for the rapid response in resolving this and our own security team for securing the property," the statement read.
Cerner's nearby Continuous campus also went on a temporary lockdown during the incident, the company said in a statement.
Earlier today, local law enforcement alerted Cerner to an incident near our Continuous campus in Kansas City, KS. We took immediate steps to protect associates through a temporary lockdown, preventing anyone from entering or departing the buildings. We commend the authorities for their swift response in diffusing the situation.
The incident is being investigated jointly by the KCK and Topeka police departments. Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.