WICHITA, Kan. — Authorities arrested a wounded, decorated Army veteran after he followed members of a controversial Topeka church and he was found in a vehicle stocked with weapons outside Wichita City Hall on Tuesday, sources said.
In the man's vehicle, which was backed into a spot in the City Hall parking lot, investigators found items including a rifle, a handgun and more than 90 rounds of ammunition, said a source close to the investigation who asked not to be named.
By Tuesday evening, the man, in his 20s, was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of stalking, false impersonation and driving with a revoked license, records showed.
Sheriff Bob Hinshaw declined to comment on any items in the man's vehicle but confirmed that sheriff's detectives arrested the man after a detective saw his vehicle following members of Westboro Baptist Church. The church protests at soldiers' funerals, claiming that war deaths are God's way of punishing the nation for immorality and for tolerance of abortion and homosexuality.
A church spokesman could not be reached Tuesday night.
Sources said the man arrested is a veteran who suffered severe wounds when an improvised bomb exploded in Afghanistan.
Hinshaw gave this account:
Two sheriff's detectives were among the law enforcement personnel helping to observe a protest by Westboro members Tuesday morning at Mulvane High School.
"Everything seemed to be peaceful," Hinshaw said.
On the way back to the Sedgwick County Courthouse, one of the detectives saw a vehicle "persistently staying behind" a vehicle carrying the Westboro protesters. "It didn't look right to him," considering the controversy surrounding Westboro, Hinshaw said.
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