Five year old Cadence Harris was killed in a shootout involving Marcus McGowan, her mother\'s boyfriend
Five year old Cadence Harris was killed in a shootout involving Marcus McGowan, her mother\'s boyfriend

A five-year-old girl was killed in a Kansas shootout following a high-speed chase between police and a man suspected of attempting to abduct her.

Cadence Harris was allegedly abducted by Marcus McGowan, her mother's boyfriend, from Atchison in Kansas, on Friday.

Police officer in Leavenworth, Kansas chased 30-year-old McGowan from Kansas into Missouri, before he crashed his SUV into construction barriers. There was a brief gun battle with police in which five-year-old Cadence died.

It's not clear who fired the bullet that killed Cadence. Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said investigators could not rule out that the little girl was killed in the crossfire between officers and McGowan.

But Kansas Bureau of Investiation Special Agent Mark Malic, who is heading the investigation, said although the inquiry was in its early stages, it did not appear the youngster had been shot by police. An autopsy will be held to try to clarify the cause of Cadence's death.

The two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.

A witness, Irma Adams said: "It's just shocking that they put children in harm's way like that. Children shouldn't be put into any kind of dispute. You never think things like that would happen close to home and it's just shocking."

McGowan is being held on an arrest warrant for failure to appear in court, which gives prosecutors time to decide on charges.

He was due in court in connection with a domestic violence incident involving Cadence's mother, according to Police records.