Butler County officer-involved shooting


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BUTLER COUNTY – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) responded to investigate an officer-involved shooting that occurred Thursday afternoon, critically injuring a Leon man.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office contacted the KBI at approximately 2:20 p.m. requesting assistance investigating the shooting. KBI agents and the Crime Scene Response Team responded.

Preliminary information indicates that deputies from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on James B. Watts, 53, of Leon. Deputies were following Watts’ vehicle when he parked at Vintage Bank at 101 S. Main St., in Leon. They attempted to call Watts out of the vehicle in a controlled manner, but he ignored commands. Watts exited the vehicle armed with a pistol. Deputies continued to give commands for him to drop the gun, but Watts reached the entrance of the bank. When Watts attempted to enter the bank, three deputies fired multiple times toward Watts, striking him several times.

Deputies and EMS rendered first-aid and Watts was transported to a Wichita hospital. After surgery he is in critical, but stable condition.   

The KBI will conduct a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting. Once completed the findings will be turned over to the Butler County Attorney for review.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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