On April 1, 2023 at about 2:20 AM a Hoisington police officer was investigating a suspicious vehicle near a business in the City of Hoisington. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle at which point it fled eastbound on K4 highway at a high rate of speed. During the pursuit, the Hoisington officer reported on the radio he heard a backfire or gunshot. His vehicle then began to overheat and was disabled. It was later discovered a bullet had struck the radiator in the patrol car.
By this time a Sheriff’s Office Sgt. had caught up to the chase and continued pursuit. The suspect vehicle continued east on K4 Highway entering the city of Claflin turning onto city streets when it crashed into a utility box and the vehicle was disabled. Review of the dash camera in the Sheriff’s Office vehicle indicates a suspect fired at least three shots while the Sheriff’s Office was in pursuit. Sheriff’s deputies captured two of the three occupants of the vehicle at the scene.
The driver was identified as Rylan J. Witmer age 21 of Wilson Kansas. Witmer was charged with possession of methamphetamine, felony attempt to flee and elude and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Witmer was booked in the Barton County Jail and released late Monday on a $10,000 bond.
A passenger in the vehicle identified as William Thomas Frederick Junior, age 38, fled from the scene and is believed to be the shooter. Fredericks last known address was in the Salina area. He may also be in Ellsworth or Rice counties. Law
Enforcement agencies including the United States Marshals Service are currently seeking the whereabouts of Frederick. He is wanted for questioning in reference to attempted murder on the Hoisington officer and aggravated assault of law enforcement officer regarding the deputies. Frederick was on Community Corrections and listed as an absconder at the time of the incident. Frederick is described as a white male, medium build, 5’6” tall, 165 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. After the chase, a vehicle was stolen in the Claflin area. It is believed Frederick may be driving a 2015 Toyota RAV4 bearing Kansas tag 602 CVU, bronze in color (A Crime Stoppers request will be released shortly.)
A front seat passenger in the vehicle was initially taken into custody but was later released pending further investigation.