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Kansas Officer Shot In Face While Trying To Rescue Wounded Teacher

Lyons, KS – A Lyons police sergeant was shot in the face while trying to rescue a teacher who had been repeatedly shot by a neighbor on Friday afternoon, according to police.

The incident began at approximately 3:40 p.m. on Oct. 16, when the Lyons Police Department (LPD) received a 911 call that a man had threatened his neighbor with a gun while he was out mowing his lawn on Arrowhead Drive, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) said, according to KWCH.

When LPD Sergeant Cory Ryan, 36, responded to the area, the gunman opened fire on him, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Wyatt Johnson, 24, and his girlfriend said they were driving through the neighborhood at the time of the attack and saw the “blast from the gun,” according to the paper.

Johnson said that Sgt. Ryan had already been shot in the chest and arm before he was able to draw his duty weapon and return fire, the Wichita Eagle reported.

He had also been shot in the face, Johnson said.

Johnson’s girlfriend, who was driving their vehicle, slammed the car into reverse and turned it sideways to help create a protective barrier, he explained.

He then shoved his girlfriend out of the vehicle and rushed out behind her as they fled from the vehicle on foot, The Wichita Eagle reported.

The couple called 911 and yelled for the wounded sergeant to come towards them as the gunfire continued.

They managed to pull Sgt. Ryan into a vehicle and used a towel to put pressure on his wounds as Johnson drove them away from the scene.

“He was trying to speak but he couldn’t because the whole bottom of his jaw was gone,” Johnson told The Wichita Eagle.

He raced the wounded sergeant to Rice County District Hospital, where he was later transferred to a hospital in Wichita.

Meanwhile, the accused gunman – later identified as 40-year-old Adam Hrabik – retreated into his home and barricaded himself inside, according to the KBI.

Law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions responded to the area, along with an armored vehicle, The Wichita Eagle reported.

The first officers who arrived at the scene located the victim of the initial shooting, 56-year-old Lyons High School teacher and basketball coach Brian Friess, suffering from gunshot wounds to his abdomen and left thigh.

LPD Chief Justin Holliday suffered a back injury as he and other officers pulled Friess to safety, KSNW reported.

The police chief is recovering from his injuries at home, and is expected to make a full recovery.

Friess was rushed to a local hospital before being transported a hospital in Wichita, The Wichita Eagle reported.

He later wrote in a Facebook post that one of the bullets is lodged beneath his right lung, according to The Wichita Eagle.

“Both bullets will stay in my body — it’s not like the movies where they go after em!” he wrote.

Friess was listed in good condition on Saturday night, the KBI told WKCH.

The police standoff with Hrabik continued until just after 7 p.m., when the accused gunman agreed to come out and surrender, The Wichita Eagle reported.

He was booked into the Reno County Correctional Facility on pending charges, the KBI said.

Sterling Police Chief Derrick Ploutz said that Sgt. Ryan, an eight-year veteran-of-the-force, was in critical, but stable, condition.

Chief Ploutz said he “absolutely” believes that Johnson and his girlfriend saved Sgt. Ryan’s life, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Rice County Sheriff Bryan Evans said in a Facebook post on Sunday night that he had met with Sgt. Ryan and his wife, Cami, at the hospital.

“Cory is doing awesome…The ventilator is out, he is alert, he could even talk some, has all movement and feeling in his limbs,” Sheriff Evans wrote. “Organ function is good, and blood work is good. To quote his nurse, ‘I am shocked to see him respond so well to treatment, considering the report I received when he was first brought in.’”

The sheriff noted that Sgt. Ryan is “receiving excellent care.”

“I ensured him that we are all praying for him and Coach Friess,” he wrote. “Please continue to pray for the Ryan and Friess families.”

A fundraising page established to help Sgt. Ryan during his recovery has raised over $7,700 so far.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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