MEDICINE LODGE – Kristina Myers, whose husband was fatally shot in October by law enforcement, is encouraging the public to attend a hearing at 10 a.m. in Barber County District Court at 10 a.m. Dec. 22, in Medicine Lodge.

Both Barber County Sheriff Lonnie Small and Undersheriff Virgil “Dusty” Brewer, who fired at the late Steven Myers, 42, have received subpoenas to testify. Their efforts to quash the subpoenas did not succeed at a Dec. 1 court hearing.

“I think it’s important that people know who they voted for,” said Kristina Myers Tuesday.

Small won election to sheriff in November 2016, after besting three fellow Republicans, including the incumbent, in a primary. Small took office in January 2017. All current full-time officers or deputies in the department started their jobs with the Barber County Sheriff’s Office during 2017, according to the Barber County Clerk’s office. Small was a former undersheriff in Barber County and Brewer resigned as a county law enforcement officer in Texas to take the appointed post in Barber County.

Kristina Myers’ Overland Park attorney Michael Kuckelman, with Kuckelman Torline Kirkland, said they have written to Small multiple times since the shooting asking why is Brewer still employed. “We’ve been ignored,” Kuckelman said.

The News tried to reach Small and Brewer and was told neither man was in the office.  The spokeswoman also said neither man is making any statement regarding Myers’ death. The case is the subject of litigation in district court and federal court.

Kuckelman is seeking copies of law enforcement’s video and audio recordings. At the Dec. 1 hearing, the judge denied a motion to dismiss the open records request. The hearing on Dec. 22 will consider the merits of Small's decision not to provide copies.

Small is represented by the Foulston Siefkin law firm in Wichita, and Brewer is represented by the Watkins Calcara law firm in Great Bend.

Jury trial sought 

The civil rights lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Nov. 30 on behalf of Kristina Myers, 32, and the couple’s three children, names Brewer and Small, in that order, as defendants.

“We think that those two are the two responsible,” Kuckelman said.

According to the federal lawsuit and Kuckelman, this is what the plaintiff claims happened Oct. 6:

-Barber County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 6:26 p.m. that Steven Myers was in the street in front of Buster’s Bar, Sun City, with a shotgun. A patron inside the bar had called 911. Myers had had a disagreement with the bar owner and had been locked outside the bar.

-After 7 p.m., law enforcement arrived. Myers was gone from the scene, as was the caller.

-Small and Brewer and Barber County Deputies Mark Suchy and David Miller responded. K-9 assistance also was at the scene. Officers from Pratt County Sheriff’s Office responded, too.

-Myers had returned home, put away his shotgun, and had taken his dog for a walk. His wife and children were in Hardtner.

-Small saw Myers in a shed at a nearby residence of friends of Myers and the Sheriff shouted for Myers to come outside.

-Myers came out into the backyard, unarmed. Brewer and Suchy “began shouting” at him saying “’Put your hands up!’” and “’Get on the ground!’” Myers did neither. He stood in the yard with empty hands at his side.

-“After a mere eight seconds of shouting inconsistent commands at Steven Myers, Undersheriff Brewer fired his 12-gauge shotgun at Mr. Myers’s chest from a distance of approximately six to eight feet.” It was a beanbag pouch, not a bullet. A beanbag pouch contains lead pellets and can be deadly if fired at close rangee. Barber County does not have a policy on the use of beanbag ammunition. 

-"The homeowner then walked to the back door, saw Mr. Myers on the ground, and said, 'God damn, that was a little drastic wasn't it?' Undersheriff Brewer threatened the homeowner with arrest for 'interference' and commanded him to leave his own property."

-Suchy and Miller attempted to resuscitate Myers. EMS arrived at the scene about 22 minutes after the shooting. The coroner declared death occurred at the scene. 

-Small and Suchy and possibly other officers wore body cameras, each recording part of the response. Miller’s patrol vehicle’s dash camera recorded portions of the response, too. Kuckelman has seen or heard different recordings and those have been cited in the federal lawsuit.

The case filed on behalf of Kristina Myers seeks a trial by jury in the Kansas City area. It does not specify the amount of compensation sought from Brewer and Small.