Good Samaritans help rescue wounded Kan. officer amid shooting

The couple pulled Sgt. Cory Ryan into their car and sped off to a hospital


By Michael Stavola
The Wichita Eagle

LYONS, Kan. — Wyatt Johnson and his girlfriend were driving around Lyons on Friday while she reminisced about her hometown. They were wasting time before a wedding rehearsal.

In southeast Lyons, near the home of one of her childhood friends, the couple saw an officer at a door and then heard shots ring out. Sgt. Cory Ryan was responding to a call from a man who was mowing the lawn when he was threatened by a neighboring man with a gun at around 3:40 p.m.

The officer arrived at the home of the alleged shooter, 40-year-old Adam Hrabik.

Johnson said he couldn't see the shooter but saw the "blast from the gun."

Ryan backpedaled.

Johnson said he believes Ryan had already been shot in the arm and chest before the officer got out his gun in self defense. Ryan, who was also shot in the face, fired back.

Johnson's girlfriend put the car in reverse, drove it 10 feet and turned the car sideways to create a barrier. Johnson pushed his girlfriend out the driver door and followed her out to put more distance between them and the shooter. He was on the phone with 911 while the two of them yelled for Ryan to come to them.

Johnson said it was like they practiced it before.

Shots continued to ring out.

The two pulled him into the car.

Johnson's girlfriend handed Ryan a towel to staunch the blood and tried to calm him. Johnson drove.

"He was trying to speak but he couldn't because the whole bottom of his jaw was gone," said Johnson, a 24-year-old who works for a tree service company.

They took him to the Rice County District Hospital on the west side of town. Ryan, 36, was then transferred to a Wichita hospital.

As Ryan was being cared for, the shooter retreated into the his home, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

[POLICING MATTERS PODCAST: How can civilians assist cops in danger?]

Officers in the region started to descend on the home, bringing tactical gear and an armored vehicle.

The first officers to arrive also discovered that the man mowing the lawn, who identified himself on Facebook as Brian Friess, had been shot.

Lyons police chief Justin Holliday was one of the officers who found Friess wounded and helped bring him to safety.

Friess, the Lyons High School boys basketball coach and the school district's 2020 Ray and Evelyn Lippelmann Outstanding Teacher, was also taken to the Lyons hospital and then onto a Wichita hospital.

On Saturday, he posted on Facebook that he had been shot in the left thigh and below his right lung.

"Both bullets will stay in my body -- it's not like the movies where they go after em!" the 56-year-old wrote, adding doctors are keeping an eye on the bullet lodged in his lung. "Thank you to EVERYONE for the nice words! I'm blessed to live in Lyons and Coach/teach at LHS!"

The standoff at the home lasted until around 7:10 p.m. when officers convinced Hrabik to come out of his home. He was arrested and booked into the Reno County Correctional Facility, according to the KBI.

Ryan, who has been with the Lyons Police Department since 2012, is in critical condition but is stable, according to Sterling police chief Derrick Ploutz.

"I absolutely think they saved his life by doing what they did," Ploutz said, adding each second matters in a shooting.

The Sterling Police Department is helping support Lyons while it is down one officer. About the response from surrounding law enforcement agencies coming to help, Ploutz said:

"The response and the help that we give each other, I don't know any other place I would rather work," Ploutz said, adding: "We are small departments in Kansas but we always know that we got each other and when we are needed, everyone is going to be there."

A fund has been set up at the Lyons Federal Bank to help cover medical costs for Ryan. Donations can also be dropped off at the Lyons Police Department and the First Bank in Sterling and will be forwarded on to the fund for Ryan.

(c)2020 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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