Prairie Village man charged with murder in Shawnee house fire that left young boy dead

Police detain a man, later identified as Nicholas Ecker, on the scene of a Shawnee house fire early Sunday morning. Prosecutors have now charged Ecker with first degree murder and aggravated arson in connection with the fire, which left an infant boy dead. Photo credit Mike Frizzell.

A 28-year-old Prairie Village man has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with a Sunday morning house fire in Shawnee that killed an infant.

Nicholas Adam Ecker will be arraigned in Johnson County District Court on Tuesday afternoon for one charge of first-degree murder and another for aggravated arson.

The criminal complaint alleges that Ecker “unlawfully and feloniously” killed a person born in 2020. A second criminal count alleges that Ecker “by means of fire or explosive” damaged an occupied house at 10502 West 69th Terrace.

The complaint alleges that both incidents occurred “on or about” Sunday, February 13, 2022.

A motorbike driven by Ecker lays on it side in the yard of the home. Photo credit Mike Frizzell.

The Shawnee Mission Post was at the scene of the fire early Sunday morning as a man, later identified as Ecker, rode up on a motorcycle into the side yard of the home, dumped the bike onto its side and sprinted towards the home’s front door.

A police officer and firefighter stopped him in the front yard, and police escorted him away from the burning house.

Recorded radio traffic later indicated that police had detained the man.

Shawnee Deputy Fire Chief Corey Sands said at the time that several people were able to escape from the house without injury before police or firefighters arrived.

But no one was able to get to the infant, who perished in the fire, investigators say.

Criminal history

Ecker appeared before a Johnson County District Court judge on Monday afternoon to face a separate charge of felony stalking. He also has a pending case for aggravated domestic battery.

Court records show that all of these pending cases have been filed by Shawnee police since the start of 2022.

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office jail records show Ecker is being held on a combined bond of $1,055,000 for his multiple pending cases.

District court records show that Ecker has an extensive criminal history in Johnson County, with arrests dating back to September 2009.

His prior cases range from misdemeanor possession of marijuana to felonies for defacing identification marks of a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Fundraiser for victim

An online fundraiser has been started for the young victim of the fire on GoFundMe, by a woman identifying herself as the boy’s aunt.

As of Tuesday morning, it had raised $4,600.

The GoFundMe page refers to the boy as “Junior” and indicates two other children also lived in the home.

“Please please please keep our family in your prayers. We need it badly!” the fundraiser says. “My beautiful baby nephew has gained his wings. We love you Junior! Junior was so precious and such a good boy!”

Shawnee police and fire officials say they continue working on a joint investigation into the house fire.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Shawnee Police Department at 913-631-2150 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

The cause of the fire has not been released.