Man who killed woman found dead with couple’s toddler

March 28, 2022 GMT

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — A man shot and killed a woman and later was found dead inside a Kansas home with their slain toddler after exchanging gunfire with law enforcement, authorities said.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that police in Baxter Springs responded around 7:15 p.m. Saturday to a call from a woman asking for help. When officers arrived, 37-year-old Eli Crawford shot and killed 27-year-old Taylor Dawn Shutte as she exited the home.

Crawford then went back into the home with their 2-year-old child, Clesslyn Crawford.

The sheriff’s office said Crawford then fired at police and sheriff’s deputies. They sought help from the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the police SWAT team in nearby Joplin, Missouri.

The sheriff’s office said a 3 1/2 hour “assault on law enforcement” ensued, during which time an officer fired toward the suspect. The release said Crawford and the child later were found dead inside the home.

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Joplin police said in a news release that a department SWAT officer was involved in the shooting and has been place on paid administrative leave. Police referred additional questions to the sheriff’s office.

Neither agencies’ news release made it clear whether law enforcement shot Crawford or whether he killed himself. Sheriff Danny Smith didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is reviewing what happened.