The accidental shooting death of a young stockbroker by an officer looking for a burglar is one more strike against a police force already struggling with allegations of brutality and racism.
Terry D. Barnes, 24, was shot between the eyes in his apartment over the weekend. Police said an officer investigating a report of a prowler had entered the apartment at 3:30 a.m. and fired after Barnes got out of bed to see what was wrong.
It was the seventh shooting death involving Kansas City police officers this year. In the previous three years, five people were shot and killed.
"I just hope that this case will draw the line on where the police can kill an innocent man. Where do you draw the line?" said roommate Andy Brez, 23, who was sleeping in another bedroom when police entered Saturday.
Barnes was white, as is the officer who shot him; however, other recent incidents of alleged excessive force involved black citizens.
Police said they were told that the prowler might have run to the floor on which Barnes lived. Two police officers, whose names were not disclosed, noticed that the door to his apartment was not tightly shut and entered, authorities said.
An officer encountered Barnes, unarmed, in a T-shirt and boxer shorts, standing in his bedroom, police spokesman Sgt. Greg Mills said. Barnes made "a kind of lunging motion," and the officer fired from about 5 to 8 feet, Mills said.
Friends of Barnes questioned whether his apartment door was ajar and whether he would have lunged at the officer.
In June, several white officers bloodied a Nigerian-born Roman Catholic priest with nightsticks as he lay on the ground. Father Joseph Okoye said officers who stopped him on suspicion of drunken driving mistook his foreign accent for drunken speech.
In May, another black clergyman was hit on the head with a shotgun by a white officer while lying on the ground. Police said a youth in the car of the Rev. William Fountaine matched the description of an armed robber.
In another case, three undercover officers were suspended for a shooting this spring that left a young black man crippled. The officers and the victim accused each other of starting the fight that led to the shooting.
Also this year, four officers riddled a man brandishing a barbecue fork with 15 bullets, killing him. And an officer killed a man who was spraying him with a fire extinguisher. No officer involved in the two killings was charged.
The officer who shot Barnes was a two-year veteran of the force. He was placed on paid leave pending a police inquiry.
"This is a tragic chain of events that is regrettable for Mr. Barnes' family and for this officer," Bishop said. "The officers were reacting appropriately to a number of circumstances which together led them to that apartment."