An attempted robbery of a Shawnee, Kansas, gun shop on Friday afternoon resulted in the death of the store’s co-owner. Three of the four suspects were wounded in the foiled heist at She’s A Pistol at the intersection of Nieman Road and 57th Street. She’s A Pistol, which is located approximately 15 miles from Kansas City, is co-owned by the husband and wife team of Jon Bieker and Becky Bieker.
The four suspects entered the store at approximately 2:10 p.m. on Friday. At this time it is not clear as to who fired the first shot or how the events unfolded, but police say that bullets began to fly after one of the robbers hit Becky Bieker’s face. When the dust had settled, Jon Bieker and two of the suspects had been critically wounded. A fourth suspect was also wounded, but less seriously. The three most seriously wounded people were transported in critical condition to Overland Park Regional Medical Center. Jon died at the hospital.
Shawnee Police spokesman Major Dan Tennis said that there had been a significant amount of shooting at the scene and that it appears that there were no customers inside of She’s A Pistol at the time of the attempted robbery. Two of the would-be robbers were arrested at the scene, but two of the suspects ran from the store, removing various clothing items as they did. Police used tracking dogs, blocked traffic and called in the police helicopter from Kansas City in their search for the fleeing robbers. Tennis says the trail of discarded clothing items led to the location of the suspects.
As police searched, the suspects attempted to take cover inside of a nearby home, but had to instead hide in the screened porch. The resident of the home phoned 911 when she heard the suspects knocking. At that time, a police dog and two officers were located within 100 yards of the woman’s house. They arrested the remaining two suspects there.
A sign language interpreter who offices in the lower part of the building where the gun shop is located remembered Jon Bieker as “kind of a quiet guy, very conscientious.” Sandy Kaspar remembers the first day she met Becky Bieker and how thrilled she was to be running the store, which Kaspar says “was their dream.” Becky opened the gun shop in order to provide female firearms owners in Shawnee, Kansas, with gun safety and self defense classes.
Another tenant of the building, Keith Winterhalter, shares a common wall with She’s A Pistol and at first believed that a hammer had hit that wall. After realizing that shots were being fired, he took his two clients to the opposite side of the office building. He crawled back to his own office in order to see to an employee when he “heard five or six more shots and then screaming.” Later, he realized that a bullet had been fired through one of the walls in his office.
The owner of an insurance agency near the gun store, Jim Allen, talked to a witness just after the shooting ended. She told him that she had seen three people wearing hoodies – one holding a large duffel bag – go into the store. They had parked on the side of the building, which raised her suspicion. As she watched the events unfold, one of the people lifted an arm as though he were going to fire a gun, and she phoned 911.
As of Friday night, one of the suspects had been upgraded to fair condition and there had been no change in the condition of the critically injured suspect. The Shawnee hospital has another person who was involved in the events listed in fair condition, but at this point it is not known if that is the third suspect who was less seriously injured at the scene, or if it is Becky Bieker. One other person whose condition is unknown was transported to the University of Kansas Hospital. Police say that Becky did not sustain gunshot injuries in the robbery attempt, but it is reported that she was punched in the body and face during the ordeal.
At this time, authorities are not sure why She’s A Pistol was targeted and do not know if any guns, money or other items were taken. The uninjured suspect is in Shawnee, Kansas, police custody on charges of suspicion of aggravated robbery.
By Jennifer Pfalz