Young Kansas girl killed after chase, shootout

Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:58:57 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 20 2014 02:04:42 AM CDT

A man abducted and then may have killed a young girl Friday night after he became involved in a high-speed police chase with officers on both sides of the state line. After the girl was killed, the man became involved in a shootout with officers, authorities said.

The man - later identified from sources and family as Marcus McGowan - was injured by officers after he fired at least six shots at them, witnesses told KCTV5.

The little girl killed is 5-year-old Cadence Harris, of Leavenworth. Police say the two knew each other and were acquaintances, but wouldn't specify their relationship.

The shooting was reported about 7:30 p.m. Friday at 18th and Metropolitan in Leavenworth.

Some witnesses said McGowan was the girl's father. Police have not confirmed that as of Saturday morning.

A woman claiming to be the suspect's sister said he was not the child's biological father, but was dating the girl's mother, who lived with the man and his family.

Family members of the suspect said the girl was quite close to McGowan and his family.

Horrified witnesses described seeing the man turn the weapon on the girl.

"It's just shocking that they put children in harm's way like that, you know. Children shouldn't be put into any kind of dispute. There's too much going on around here, too much killing as it is already," Irma Adams said.

Events began unfolding when the man reportedly abducted the girl from Atchison on Friday night.

Authorities said they chased the man from Kansas into Missouri and back. Law enforcement officials from Platte County were among those that joined the chase.

The man crashed into construction barricades in Leavenworth. After he crashed his SUV through the barricades, the man was involved in a short standoff. Witness and police reports begin varying at that point. Some say McGowan then he turned the gun on the little girl in front of police and witnesses.

Saturday during a press conference, police said they can't confirm the initial reports. They are still investigating how Cadence died.

"I just want to clear up, it's not as certain as what was being reported last night, which is that it happened there. We're still working on a lot of those details," Chief Patrick Kitchens said. "What we're going to do is go through the scene very clearly. There's a difference between doing a crime scene at night and during the day...we'll be in a much better position to understand the evidence at the scene." 

McGowan then got out of his vehicle and turned his weapon on police.

"What I can tell you definitively is that on the video tape he pointed his weapon at the officers and that is what perpetrated the shooting," Kitchens said. 

Witnesses said officers retreated to a defensive position before opening fire on the 30-year-old man.

The Leavenworth police chief said there was no choice, but to pursue McGowan throughout the course of the crime.

"It was a standard high speed pursuit which, in the case of a kidnapping, we would certainly engage in and try and rescue the victim. So, as details emerge, we'll do the best we can to communicate. Again the KBI is going to handle the investigation from here on out," Kitchens said.

An ambulance came to the scene and paramedics treated Cadence before she was removed from the ambulance and pronounced dead at the scene.

McGowan was placed in handcuffs and put into the ambulance. He was then taken to a Kansas City area hospital for treatment for his injuries.

Neighbors say they are sick over what happened to the little girl. They said they knew something wasn't right when they saw the police chase end. They describe seeing the ambulance shut its lights out and they knew someone wasn't going to make it.

"You never think things like that would happen close to home and it's just shocking," Adams said.

McGowan's white SUV remained at the spot where the police chase ended Saturday morning. The Kansas Bureau of Investigations is expected to play a significant role in the investigation.

KCTV5 has multiple crews gathering more information. Refresh this page for updates.