The incident happened on SW 37th Street and SW Topeka Boulevard. The Topeka Fire Department battled the blaze for three hours and the County Club Motel was in ashes by the end of it. As of 6:30 a.m., officials were still on the scene.
Around 10 p.m., the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force was attempting to locate a person at the Country Club Motel. Officials say the gunman and officers exchanged gun shots outside the motel, which somehow caught fire during this event.
“The fire department is still working at the scene to get it put out,” said TFD Fire Marshal Michael Martin. “I think we have it under control. We are doing some salvage and overhaul right now.”
“During the course of the exchange of gun fire there were officers injured,” said Lt. Colleen Stuart with the Topeka Police Department. “They sustained non-life-threatening injuries and they were transported to a local hospital for assistance.”
Topeka police could not say whether Orlando Collins was the man being sought in the motel or in the shootout. Collins had been sought as a person of interest on Friday in connection with a carjacking and a holdup that happened in the same area as Saturday’s events. Collins is also at the center of the April 6 attempted robbery at the Brookwood Shopping Center Dillions on SW 29th Street and the April 4 armed robbery at the Kwik Shop at 37th and Humboldt.
TPD could not confirm whether the suspect has been caught, either dead or alive. Officials could not say whether someone was inside the motel, nor if anyone other than the officers was injured.
Residents who live nearby say they heard the gunshots, at first thinking they were firecrackers. “I first heard the gun shots at Walmart while I was talking to my friend and we were wondering what exactly what it was,” said Topeka resident Christian Brull. “There was a couple of shots going on.” “And I heard pop pop pop, and then looked around,” said Topeka resident Lindsay Haight. “Fully automatic weapon for sure, it sounded like,” added Emerson King, also a Topeka Resident.
We will continue to follow this story, both online and on-air as it develops.