Wellington, KS – An Iowa fugitive was fatally shot by a Kansas farmer. Sumner County Sheriff Darren Chambers confirmed that Joseph L. Lamasters, 42, was wanted for a probation violation stemming from prior drug charges.
The Kansas farmer who shot and killed the Iowa fugitive is not expected to be charged in the death. Law enforcement officers began searching for Joseph Lamasters after her reportedly left his identification at a Kansas Turnpike tollbooth on Monday.
Police officers feel he was trying to retrieve money dropped when trying to pay the toll when he lost his identification. State troopers called the fleeing fugitive a lane runner who attracted attention which ultimately led to his demise. The warrant issued for Lamasters’ arrest included a cautionary warning. The Iowa fugitive was reportedly either in possession of a firearm or had used weapons in the past.
Local authorities learned that Lamasters was wanted in Iowa after checking on the identification dropped at the Kansas Turnpike. The Iowa fugitive was spotted state troopers running into a wooded area after leaving the roadway. Law enforcement officers believe the wanted man ran out of gas in the rural area and opted to make his escape on foot.
Due to the rural terrain in the area, law enforcement officers decided to go door-to-door and let farmers know about to be watchful to the potentially armed Iowa fugitive in the area. The unnamed Kansas farmer spotted Joseph Lamasters later in the afternoon.
The farmer called police and told them he was holding the fugitive at gunpoint, but he took off running. At the time of the first encounter, the farmer did not feel threatened. When the wanted man fled, the farmer realized her was turning towards the home of a relative. Fearing that the woman might be home alone, he and his teenage son took a shotgun and went to check on their relative.
After finding no one home, the farmer and his son checked the outbuildings on the property. The Iowa fugitive reportedly jumped out from behind a stack of feed sacks and threatened to kill the Kansas farmer. The farmer then opened fire on the fugitive.
The Sumner Country Sheriff considers the farmer’s actions an act of self-defense and does not plan on pressing charges in relation to the fugitive’s death. Sheriff Darren Chambers said, “I hate to see him [farmer] in this position, but he did what he felt he had to do. He wanted to protect his family.”
What do you think about the Kansas farmer shooting the Iowa fugitive?