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Hundreds attend candlelight vigil for Topeka officers killed

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December 17, 2012|By Kim Hynes | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
Topeka Police Department

(TOPEKA, Kan.) — Hundreds of residents and law enforcement officers attended a candlelight vigil in Topeka Monday night.  They gathered in holding candles and one another to honor the two officers shot and killed in the line of duty Sunday.

50-year-old Cpl David Gogian and 29-year-old Officer Jeff Atherly were shot and killed in the parking lot of a Dillon's store in Topeka.  22-year-old David E. Tiscareno is accused of killing them.  He died after a police stand off early Monday morning.

A tip from the public helped lead police to Tiscareno.  The Topeka Police Chief says he knew the public would come forward to help catch the guy who opened fire on the officers.

Gogian and Atherly were responding to a call from a citizen of a possible drug deal happening in the car.  When the officers went up to the car, they started to remove the driver and passenger from the vehicle.  Tiscareno was in the back seat. The Shawnee County Sheriff says Tiscareno got out of the car and shot both officers. 

The sheriff says a third officer responding to the scene, witnessed Tiscareno shooting the officers. The third officer fired back at the suspect. He then got into the car and took off alone. The two other people in the car were taken in for questioning as witnesses.  He says it's still unclear exactly what was happening inside the car.

The sheriff says once they were able to identify the suspect, they went to the media asking for help. Around midnight, they received a call saying Tiscareno was inside a residence on southwest Western Avenue in Topeka.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation brought in a special team to help arrest the suspect.  They used tear gas inside the home.  A short time later Tiscareno came out with a gun.  A spokesman from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation says Tiscareno fired one shot and then law enforcement returned fire.  Tiscareno was hit and died at the hospital.

The Topeka Police Chief says he would have preferred Tiscareno go through the judicial process instead.  He says it's frustrating because they will never know his motivations.  Tiscareno did have a criminal history.

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Cpl David Gogian was retired from the military and worked full time as a Topeka officer for eight years. Before that, he worked as a reserve officer for 13 years. Officer Jeff Atherly was with Topeka PD for 18 months.

A memorial fund for the officer's families has been set up at the Topeka Police Credit Union.

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