Kansas City, KS – A Kansas congressional candidate has claims that he made a mistake by linking to his campaign fundraiser in an email he sent out regarding the brutal murders of two Wyandotte County sheriff’s deputies.
Brent Welder, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the race against U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder, sent out the campaign email on Saturday, The Kansas City Star reported.
In the correspondence, Welder attempted to lump the murders of Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Deputies Patrick Rohrer and Theresa King into an argument for stricter gun control laws, and seized the opportunity to criticize Yoder’s stance on the issue.
Both deputies were gunned down on Friday as they were transporting inmates to court hearings. Investigators said that the shooter may have disarmed a deputy and used their weapon in the fatal attack.
In the email to his supporters, Welder explained that his campaign office went into lockdown in the wake of the shooting, due to its close proximity to the scene.
“I’m grateful our staff and volunteers are safe, but two sheriff’s deputies were killed yesterday because someone who shouldn’t have had a gun had one,” Welder wrote.
In the email, Welder included a link to a petition that urged Yoder to quit accepting campaign funds from the National Rifle Association.
Those who signed off on the petition were then led to Welder’s campaign fundraising page.
The Kansas State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police blasted Welder for the political tactic, and said that the candidate had used the “cold-blooded” murders of Deputy Rohrer and Deputy King to raise money for his own campaign.
“Mr. Welder’s use of this tragedy to further the funding of his political campaign is deplorable and completely misguided,” the FOP said in a statement to The Kansas City Star. “This horrible event has nothing to do with gun control. Instead, it is another unfortunate example of the unrelenting attacks on law enforcement officers throughout our country.”
The FOP argued that offering comfort to the families of the slain heroes should be the true focus.
“It’s not a time for political partisanship,” the union admonished.
“It was classless,” Mike McCamon, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination in the congressional race, told The Kansas City Star. “It’s not about you, Brent. It’s about two police officers and their families.”
“Officers being overcome by an institutionalized person is not a gun control issue,” McCamon added.
Another Democratic candidate, Sharice Davids, demanded that Welder donate any money generated from the email to the deputies’ memorial funds.
“If I read this email, I’d think that Brent doesn’t understand the difference between someone who wrestled a gun away from a sheriff’s deputy and someone who went into a store to purchase a gun,” Davids said.
A short while later, Welder’s campaign spokesman attempted to write the matter off as a “mistake.”
“Over the weekend, our campaign made a mistake by sending out a petition email that linked signers to a donation page after they had signed our petition,” Shawn Borich said in an email to The Kansas City Star. “We apologize for this error, particularly to the families of the two sheriff deputies killed.”
Borich noted that Welder had since directed his campaign managers to “review” the email policy “to ensure that a mistake like this never happens again.”
The email generated seven donations in the cumulative amount of $104, and the campaign has vowed to contribute $250 to the slain deputies’ families, Borich said.
People wishing to make donations to the deputies' memorial funds are asked to do so through a Great KC Public Safety Credit Union.