Suspected ‘high-level’ drug trafficker arrested at KC house where 1 died, 3 cops shot

Federal prosecutors say one of those taken into police custody Tuesday night, after an attempt to execute a search warrant ended with one person dead and three Kansas City officers shot, is suspected of being a “high-level” drug trafficker.

Jimmie R. Lewis Jr., 50, was among the three people who were taken into police custody amid an 18-hour standoff handled by several area law enforcement agencies. The standoff began Tuesday night after Kansas City police officers were fired upon when they entered the house to serve the warrant, then returned fire, authorities have said.

On Wednesday afternoon, prosecutors charged Lewis with three felonies in the Western District of Missouri for earlier alleged offenses not related to the shooting that unfolded Tuesday night. The charges stem from a separate police encounter that occurred roughly 16 months ago where Lewis was allegedly found to be in possession of a firearm and about 400 grams of methamphetamine.

On Nov. 7, 2021, Lewis was pulled over by an Independence police officer while driving a vehicle that matched the description of a truck that had been reported stolen. He allegedly fled pursuit, taking police on a high-speed chase before the truck hit a curb and got a flat tire, and then he ran.

Lewis was arrested after a brief foot chase, according to an affidavit prepared by a member of Independence police’s GUN Squad. He allegedly told police they would find a firearm and some “dope” in a backpack.

Lewis also allegedly volunteered at the time that he had spent a collective 20 years in prison and had more than 30 prior felony convictions. Authorities allegedly found a handgun along with nine baggies containing meth.

Lewis was charged Wednesday with possession with intent to distribute meth, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and being in possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.

In a motion Wednesday asking that Lewis be held in detention without bail before trial, prosecutors allege he poses a danger to the community, citing in part the “circumstances surrounding the defendant’s arrest” at the site where the three police officers were shot and wounded Tuesday. He is also suspected of being a “high-level member of an ongoing drug trafficking organization,” prosecutors say.

Lewis was ordered held in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday.

The standoff that began Tuesday ended after tactical officers entered the home in the 2300 block of Blue Ridge Boulevard near the Kansas City border of Independence and unincorporated Jackson County.

It remained unclear Wednesday evening if the man found dead inside the house was killed during that exchange of gunfire with police. He was not immediately identified. A woman, who was uninjured, was also taken into police custody from the house.

The search warrant operation at the home was led by Jackson County Drug Task Force. The KCPD officers who were wounded were assisting with the service of the warrant.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the officers knocked on the door of a residence and identified themselves, the police department has said. As they entered, someone shot at the officers, who then returned fire.

The injured officers were taken to the hospital by other officers at the scene. Police Chief Stacey Graves said early Wednesday morning that the injuries were not life threatening and that the officers were alert, awake and able to talk.

After the shooting, the standoff situation was later taken over by the Independence Police Department and then the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

By 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, two people — including Lewis — had left the home voluntarily. Officials used a drone and robot to search the home for others inside.

Around 4 p.m., SWAT teams with the highway patrol and the FBI entered and secured the house, said Sgt. Andy Bell, an MSHP spokesman.

Authorities were expected to be on scene for several more hours Wednesday to process the area for evidence.