Police identify man killed in officer-involved shooting in Branson, Mo.
BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - The Branson Police Department identified a man shot by officers on Tuesday evening.
Investigators say Randall J. Wesolek, Jr., was wanted for several felony warrants. Wesolek lived in Taney County.
The shooting happened around 10 p.m. Tuesday at Dalton’s Express Gas Station on West 76 Country Boulevard. Investigators say the three officers involved in the shooting asked Wesolek to exit his vehicle. Investigators say Wesolek showed a gun. They say a struggle then happened. Officers fired their shots during the struggle. Investigators say officers attempted life-saving measures on Wesolek.
“This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the involved persons and their families,” said Chief Eric Schmitt. “We understand this incident will have long-lasting impacts for all involved, as well as our community. Please remember that regardless of the circumstances of this incident, this community values human life. We should remember to give respect as we move forward. It is crucial that a thorough, fair, and impartial investigation of this incident be completed. We will provide you information on how this process will proceed,” Chief Schmitt said.
The Missouri Highway Patrol is handling the investigation. All three officers will remain on administrative leave during the investigation.
Wesolek’s dog, a grey and white Pit Bull type breed, appeared to have been injured in the incident and ran off while the officers were securing the scene. Officers have not been able to locate the dog.
Wesolek’s sister, Lisa Thomas, said they are shocked.
“Constantly helping everybody out, he knew he was going to probably go back to jail for the warrants that he had,” said Thomas. “He planned on turning himself in, he already said that.”
Chief Schmitt said he is confident in his officers.
”They all know that incidents like this can occur,” said Chief Schmitt. “But our last one of these was way back in 2006 and that is a testament to our training and the character of the officers that we have out there protecting everybody.”
Thomas said her family wants answers.
“I want answers and to know why,” said Thomas. I want to see the footage because I don’t trust the cops. My brother would not have pulled a gun or done anything stupid.”
Chief Schmitt said his officers are always protecting the community.
”I am confident in our officers’ ability and our employees’ ability to keep this community safe,” said Chief Schmitt. “These officers are out there proactively serving this community on a daily basis.”
The Branson Police Department asks the community to be patient as the investigation unfolds. It thanked neighboring agencies, including the Branson Fire Rescue and the Taney County Ambulance District (TCAD), and the Taney County Sheriff’s Office.
The is is the first officer-involved shooting involving Branson Police Department since 2006.
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