Monroe pleads no contest to shooting

By Tim Weideman

WESTMORELAND — A Wamego man charged in connection to the December 2013 shooting incident at Quality Inn and Suites in Manhattan pleaded no contest to three charges Thursday morning as part of a plea agreement.

In Pottawatomie County District Court, Dustin Monroe, 33, entered pleas to two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied building. Judge Jeffrey Elder found him guilty.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop two other aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer charges and a felony criminal damage to property charge.

After the hearing, County Attorney Sherri Schuck said she’s satisfied with the plea agreement.

“They are solid convictions,” she said. “We don’t probably gain any more by making him go to trial. We would expend a lot of money.”

During the hearing, Schuck reviewed the state’s evidence of what happened at about 6 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2013, when law enforcement officers from multiple agencies converged on the hotel.

Once officers reached the hotel, Schuck said they found Monroe firing a “long-barreled” gun into the air. They ordered Monroe to stop firing.

At certain points in the ensuing standoff, officers believed Monroe fired shots in their direction.

Guests of the hotel, which had numerous bullet holes, reported “that they took cover,” Schuck said. “They were hitting the floor.”

When Monroe didn’t stop shooting as officers had ordered, police returned fire, striking him multiple times. Nobody else was injured.

Monroe is scheduled to be sentenced at 1 p.m. on Aug. 14. If convicted, he could face 17 to 46 months in prison for each of the aggravated assault charges and 11 to 34 months in prison for the criminal discharge of a firearm charge.

Schuck said Monroe’s sentence will depend on his criminal history.

Monroe’s attorney, Lora Ingels, requested his sentencing be pushed back about 60 days and be a special-setting sentencing, meaning it could take longer than normal.

Ingels told Elder that, at the hearing, she intends to present evidence from experts who’ve worked with Monroe since the incident. Monroe’s relatives also plan to travel from other states to attend the hearing.

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