A suspect in a Topeka, Kansas murder has been arrested in southeast Nebraska, but not before exchanging gunfire with authorities while attempting to flee.
Authorities report that 33-year-old Michael Engstrom has been arrested and now is incarcerated in Johnson County, Nebraska. His wife, 34-year-old Jamie Maria Russell, also has been arrested.
The sequence of events that led to the capture of Engstrom began after he allegedly robbed a Casey’s convenience store in Pawnee City, Nebraska Wednesday evening. A state patrol trooper noticed Engstrom’s car and began pursuit. He and a Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped Engstrom, who authorities say exchanged fire with the two, grazing the deputy’s thigh.
Engstrom fled the scene with a second trooper in pursuit. Authorities say Engstrom again exchanged fire with that trooper near Elk Creek. Engstrom finally surrendered to the Johnson County Sheriff and his deputies near St. Mary after again exchanging gunfire.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Engstrom is accused of shooting to death 35-year-old Ricky Mitchell of Topeka as well as shooting and wounding 28-year-old Bridget Gakle of Topeka.
Topeka police reported Engstrom had a 14-year-old girl with him when he fled the city. Nebraska authorities reported that a juvenile girl with Engstrom was taken into custody as well.
Engstrom now faces additional charges in Nebraska, including attempted 2nd-degree murder, flight to avoid arrest, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and felony child abuse. Jaime Russell has been charged with aiding and abetting attempted 2nd-degree murder, aiding and abetting flight and felony child abuse.
Authorities report they seized a handgun, a black ski mask, black gloves, two pistol holders and an additional ammunition magazine from the couple’s care. Authorities say the magazine in the handgun had no rounds.
The Johnson County Attorney says the couple would likely make court appearances next Wednesday. A separate bond would be set in Pawnee County on charges relating to the robbery.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, and Matthew Leaf, KTNIC, contributed to this report.