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Crime and Courts

Kansas Shooting Suspect Owes Almost $400K In Unpaid Taxes

Tex Texin
flickr Creative Commons

Updated at 4:25 p.m.

The Kansas Department of Revenue says the man accused of shooting a seizure agent at its office in Wichita has two tax warrants totaling almost $400,000 related to his construction business.

Police have identified the suspect as 51-year-old Ricky Wirths of Wichita. He is accused of shooting Cortney Holloway at the office in Wichita on Tuesday afternoon. Holloway is in stable condition.

The tax warrants were filed in June against Wirths and his company Rick Wirths Construction. One warrant is for $196,455.46 in unpaid sales tax. The other against his company amounts to $198,250.02 in unpaid consumers compensating use tax, which is for merchandise purchased outside the state for use in Kansas.

Revenue Secretary Sam Williams says in a news release that asset seizure is the "very last resort," and agents work with the taxpayer to try to set up payment plans.

Original Story:

A man suspected in the shooting of a Kansas Department of Revenue employee in Wichita was under investigation by the agency and owed nearly $200,000 in unpaid taxes, according to police and records.

The 51-year-old suspect was booked into jail on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder after tax agent Cortney Holloway was shot several times around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday inside the taxation side of a state office building, The Wichita Eagle reports. Holloway was in serious condition.

Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said the shooting didn't appear to be random and that Holloway had been involved in an investigation of the suspect. Holloway, 35, works in the tax compliance division, where employees often are required to seize property to pay back taxes.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in a statement that Holloway was "doing his job" and asked the public to pray for him and his family.

The Revenue Department had issued a tax warrant in June showing the suspect owed $196,455.36 for four tax periods spanning 2012 to 2015.

The suspect, who was being held without bond, was arrested about half an hour after the shooting, police Sgt. Chad Beard said. He was stopped by law enforcement officers down the street from his house. Revenue Department employees and deputies from the Sedgwick County sheriff's Civil Section had gone to a residence in the area earlier while investigating the suspect.

Dave Hiegel, who said he has known the suspect for 22 years, said his friend did dirt work with his father, installed windows for a few years and most recently had done parking lot and pavement sealing.

"I guess he was losing everything," Hiegel said. "That would be hard to swallow."

Robert Choromanski, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, said workers who were in the office at the time of the shooting described the scene to him. He said there were bullet holes in cubicle walls and that employees were badly shaken. He said there was no security for workers inside the facility and that they had complained about that to management.

"There's nobody to screen you to see if you have any weapons on you," Choromanski said. "There's no metal detector, nothing. You just walk in.