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Three Federal Agents Injured During Shootout At Topeka Motel

J. Schafer
Kansas Public Radio

Shawnee County officials are trying to determine the identity of a body found in the charred debris of a burned-out Topeka motel. The Country Club Motel erupted in flames Saturday night, during a shootout with federal agents. The gunfight began when agents were trying to arrest a robbery suspect who was believed to be staying at the motel.

The U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force was trying to capture 28-year-old Orlando Collins, an armed robbery suspect on the state’s Most Wanted list.

Around 10 p.m. Saturday, members of the task force approached the motel room where Collins was thought to be staying. Shots were fired from inside that room, wounding two deputy U.S. marshals and one FBI agent.

At the same time, authorities say a fire was started inside the room, which spread to the rest of the motel, burning for hours and destroying much of the motel.

Afterwards, in the same room where the suspect was believed to be holed-up, an unidentified body was discovered. Authorities are now trying to ID that body. The three injured federal agents are all expected to recover.

J. Schafer is the News Director of Kansas Public Radio at the Univeristy of Kansas. He’s also the Managing Editor of the Kansas Public Radio Network, which provides news and information to other public radio stations in Kansas and Missouri. Before joining KPR in 1995, Schafer spent 10 years as a commercial radio and TV newsman. During his career, he's filed stories for nearly every major radio news network in the nation including ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, UPI, the Mutual Broadcasting System, NPR and the BBC. This seems to impress no one. At KPR, he produces feature stories, interviews and newscast items and edits the work of others. In the fall of 2000, he performed contract work for the U.S. State Department, traveling to central Asia to teach broadcast journalism at newly independent radio stations in the former Soviet Union. One of his passions is Kansas; learning about and promoting the state’s rich heritage, people and accomplishments. Schafer gives presentations about Kansas to various organizations around the state to remind residents about our awesome history and incredible people. A native of Great Bend, he studied journalism and mass communications at Barton County Community College and at the University of Kansas. He was also an exchange student to Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. The “J.” in J. Schafer stands for Jeremy, but he doesn’t really care for that name. He also enjoys the pretentiousness of using just a single initial for a first name!