by Branee Knoll
There are 3 people dead following a shooting in Baxter Springs on Saturday. According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, it all started just after 7 p.m. when a 911 call was made from a woman who told dispatchers that she needed help. When officers arrived, the woman exited the home and a male suspect, identified as 37-year-old Eli Crawford, shot and killed 27-year-old Taylor Dawn Shutte. The suspect then retreated back inside with their 2-year-old child, Cessie Crawford.
At that point, law enforcement personnel with the Baxter Springs Police Department and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office began taking on gunfire from the suspect. As the suspect continued to shoot at law enforcement, additional assistance from the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and Joplin SWAT Team was requested. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office says when officers approached the home, Crawford and the 2-year-old child were found dead inside. Per standard agency protocol, the law enforcement officer who engaged the suspect has been placed on paid administrative leave. No officers were injured during the shootout.
“Taylor was just absolutely a ball of sunshine. She was very bubbly, very lovable,” said Chelsea Kraft, Taylor’s younger sister. “She was a little ball of energy. Always so happy she loved everybody,” said Lacey Higley, sister-in-law to Taylor’s sister. The family held a prayer vigil and released balloons to send their prayers to heaven. “Taylor would always be remembered by everyone. She was a person no one could forget,” added Chelsea. The family is hoping to raise awareness about domestic violence after losing Taylor and Clessie. The family plans to donate in Taylor and Clessie’s honor to a domestic violence campaign.