Jeff Roberts’ mother said she doesn’t know what caused her son to grab a shotgun and go outside his parents’ house, where he was later shot by a Tonganoxie police officer early Thursday morning.
Roberts has been splitting time living in his Overland Park home and his parents’ home in Tonganoxie.
The 33-year-old was at his parents’ home early Thursday morning when, according to his mother, Velda Roberts, he told her he wanted to return to Overland Park.
When she told him that wasn’t feasible, Jeff became adamant about wanting to leave, his mother said.
“I still don’t know what triggered it,” Velda said. “He felt he needed to go home.”
Soon after, her son, who is on medication for depression, pushed his mother and then grabbed a shotgun from a closet and went outside.
Velda called 911 about 1:10 a.m. Thursday from her home in the 400 block of 12th Street and told dispatch her son was outside with a shotgun.
That’s where police shot the armed man, according to a statement from Tonganoxie Police Chief Jeffrey Brandau: “Shortly after officers arrived on the scene, the officers shot an armed individual that is alleged to have been a party to the disturbance.”
Velda said officers informed her later Thursday that Jeff was in stable condition at Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.
Leavenworth County Sheriff’s officers also were on the scene Thursday morning. It is typical for an outside agency to investigate when a police officer is involved in a shooting.
Brandau said the investigation was ongoing and information was preliminary, but he expected to release more information today.
Velda said she wasn’t aware her son knew that the shotgun was in the home and to her knowledge it was not loaded.
When law enforcement arrived, she said, officers instructed her and Jeff’s father, Herb, to remain in the home.
“I do feel as far as working with us and follow-up, we really do commend both the police department and sheriff’s department,” Velda said. “They did a good job when they were here.”
She said her son, a computer programmer, had been laid off from his job and was without work for about the last two years. She said he has battled depression since that time and currently is unable to drive because of a DUI arrest this past year.
Velda said Jeff has been undergoing medical treatment as well, but she said she hopes he now will be able to find the additional help he needs.
“It’s been a tough thing for him to deal with,” Velda said of Jeff’s unemployment. “He’s a bright young guy.”
And again, she complimented Tonganoxie police and the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s office for how they handled the situation.
“They were very considerate of us and of Jeff in the way he was treated,” Velda said. “And we appreciate that.”
Lt. Billy Adcox, a police spokesman, said the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, which is also standard procedure for when an officer is involved in a shooting.