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Lawrence has had 5 homicides since Sept. 1 and city leaders are searching for answers

Forensic investigators work Sunday morning on the corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets next to Watkins Community Museum. About 11:30 a.m., the street was still blocked off to traffic after a shooting about 10 hours earlier left three people dead and others injured.

As Sunday morning came down, Lawrence leaders were grappling with why violent crime seemingly is on the rise in the city.

The three shooting deaths that occurred early Sunday morning in downtown Lawrence marked the third, fourth and fifth homicides in Lawrence since Sept. 1. Several city leaders said they don’t have answers right now.

“I don’t know the solutions,” said Mayor Leslie Soden. “I have to hear the details from the people who know them.”

Lawrence’s new chief of police may be one of them. Gregory Burns Jr., who comes to Lawrence after having served as assistant police chief in Louisville, Ky., is scheduled to be sworn into his new position on Monday afternoon. Soden said she wants to discuss with Burns downtown safety and safety around drinking establishments.

It is not known what sparked the downtown shooting, but downtown is the largest bar district in the city, and the shooting occurred at 1:40 a.m., near the time many bars are closing for the night.

The Granada, a popular music venue, is in the block where victims were found. The club at 1020 Massachusetts St. earlier in the evening had hosted a concert featuring popular rap artist Lil Yachty. But Mike Logan, owner of the Granada, told the Journal-World that the show ended at 12:30 a.m. and the Granada closed at 1 a.m.. He said security staff reported there were no unusual incidents during the concert, which required all patrons to be screened with a metal detector wand.

“It is really scary,” Logan said. “It seems like in the last month there has been an incredible amount of gun violence in Lawrence.”

Why?

“It is a tough question to answer on an early Sunday morning,” Logan said. “It is hard for me to speak on guns and responsible people. It is just so sad that violence is becoming an easy answer. I don’t have the answer, but I know we have to find one.”

Soden said she has several questions going through her mind. Would more security cameras in downtown Lawrence make sense? Are more police officers needed to walk the downtown streets? Would it be beneficial to security if Massachusetts Street was closed to vehicular traffic on Friday and Saturday nights?

In a tweet late Sunday, police said the incident was not a drive-by shooting, but there had been several unconfirmed reports on social media that it was. Requiring additional security measures in drinking establishments also might be an option, but Soden noted that it wouldn’t solve all issues. The victims in the Sunday morning shooting were shot on public sidewalks. Kansas law allows most people to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

“This complicates matters that it happened on the street,” Soden said, “especially if it is acceptable to walk around with a gun, according to the state. That is mind-boggling to me. That really doesn’t help matters.”

Burns comes to Lawrence with experience in overseeing a variety of policing efforts. In Louisville, Burns most recently oversaw Support Bureau, which included major crimes, narcotics, community services and special operations divisions.

“Having a big conversation with the new police chief will be important,” Soden said. “But I feel terrible this is the situation he is walking into.”

City Commissioner Mike Amyx, the longest-serving city commissioner and a downtown business owner, agreed that seeking counsel from the city’s new chief would be a good step to take.

But on Sunday morning, Amyx said he still was trying to make sense of what had happened.

“It is terrible,” Amyx said. “The loss of the individuals and the way it happened is just terrible. I think people should be assured that our police department is doing everything it can to ensure safety in the community, and especially in the downtown area right now.

“But once all the information is collected and we know more about what happened, I’m sure a lot of comments can be made about what we ought to do next.”

Comments

MerriAnnie Smith

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

MerriAnnie Smith

hmmm, I can't even remember what I posted. :)

I don't guess anybody who remembers could tell me or it would be deleted too. I remember posting but I don't recall trying to be vicious or using bad words.

If someone here flagged it, maybe you could email me at MerriAnnieSmith@gmail.com and tell me so I can avoid violating TOS in the future.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Brock Masters

Oh it was horrible, very horrible. Jk, I have no idea what you posted.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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MerriAnnie Smith

Now, I'm thinking I may have posted a link to another story connected to this story.

Is it possible that posting links to other news stories is prohibited? There is a local news site that deletes posts with links to elsewhere in them. KSNT, I believe. That's a Topeka news site.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Carol Martin

Start shutting the bars down earlier. May not be the solution but it could be a start. Shut down all together the problem ones we all know which ones they are.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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David Holroyd

Ms. Martin, shutting down the bars would require all of them to shut down. Get out,,the problems are east to 19th and Haskell, on the hill at The Cave, 14th and Ohio and others that do not get reported.

Chad, revive the articles from the past 20 years! Enlighten Ms. Soden and rest of the commissioners.

Bars , college students and drugs are a good fit.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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James Reynolds

Chad-
How many shootings over the last 10 years involve ( victim or suspect) someone from our fine Capital City?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Richard Heckler

If my memory serves me well a problem night spot on New Hampshire got shut down over violence.

If a local mover and shaker owns a problem and they are doing nothing about it then the largest group of stakeholders aka citizens need to step up the heat and take over....... until the problem is shut down.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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David Holroyd

Sales of alcohol is economic development.

As far as downtown I have said many ,many times parking should be paid 24/7. The lots should have meters or pay stands when entering.

Now then, OFFICERS would patrol and write tickets. There would be a record of cars that got tickets. Oh, it is so simple..to have a record of the cars with tickets. And an officer or two on the street instead of in cars parked at intersections of bars at closing.

Lawrence leaders do NOT want to acknowledge there is a problem. Because if you acknowledge something and it is a problem...then you are expected to do something about it.

Face it, the city commisssion is just plain lazy and the city manager as well. They are proud of themselves for the number of chicken places and planning and development is proud for the amount of paper they push around to keep themselves in a job.

I challenge one city commissioner to contact me and go with me to observe what goes on around the bars...and maybe he/she can put two and two together of even one and one.

Of course they will have to stay up late , really late! Can't see that happening.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Francis Hunt

Gee David you don't strike me as a late night patron of the Lawrence bar scene. Have you ever done a ride along with the police?

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Stephanie Hull

Are gun-related deaths higher this year in other Kansas towns/cities? Or, is Lawrence unique? What about in other states with gun laws similar to ours? I'd love to see an LJW story about how we compare to other areas.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Brock Masters

Good questions. Knowing the answers would help,refine the solution.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Jacob

KC homicide rates are way up also.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Bob Forer

My guess is that the recent spate of gun deaths in Lawrence a statistical anomoly. Lets face it. America is a violent culture and Lawrence is not immune.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Lisa Larsen

David Holroyd - I accept the challenge. I’d appreciate the opportunity to check out the night scene with you and seriously discuss city concerns. Lisa Larsen

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Brock Masters

Perhaps Chad could ride along too and write n article about it.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Francis Hunt

I seriously doubt David is a late night patron of the Lawrence bar scene but he is going to tout himself as an expert on the problem.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Bob Forer

He is an expert on anything and everything.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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David Holroyd

If Lisa Larsen truly responded, you know how to contact me. First we meet at the Mausoleum or the parking lot behind Mark's jewelers. In the daytime.....and THEN at night we will meet and NO we do not need Chad to accompany. One commissioner ! I don't want a story slanted by the Journal World.

LIsa Larsen when do you want to observe? It has to be a Friday or a Saturday and just thinking there is a Homecoming game this coming weekend and it might just be a good time.

Are you ready for an after 11pm night out?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Bob Forer

There is no quick fix. We live in a violent culture.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Lisa Larsen

David - Yes it is me. I’ll send you a note with times.

Bob Forer - I agree. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families. I thank our first responders for their work and dedication to protect our city. We live in a very difficult time.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Lisa Larsen

David - Yes it is me. I’ll send you a note with times.

Bob Forer - I agree. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families. I thank our first responders for their work and dedication to protect our city. We live in a very difficult time.

Lisa Larsen

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Richard Quinlan

What would you all think if we located a huge drug garage sale just off campus , you could go buy all the pot , x , crack , lsd , heroin , oxy that your pocketbook would allow and you could consume it in public then just run around downtown in a induced frenzy.Great idea huh ? What could go wrong ?

How is that any different from the nightly alcohol sale ?

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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David Holroyd

Lisa Larsen, I will contact you. You say it is you and I take your word for it.

As for Francis Hunt, there is most likely no Francis Hunt and quite frankly I am not interested in meeting him/her.

NO Chad either.

NO Kansan Reporter either.

NO City Manager either!!

over and out,,Snarky (that's for Carol Bowen:)

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Rich Noever

Maybe the city should consider having a chat with Mr. Logan, owner of the Granada. Seems like a lot of undesirables head to Lawrence when their favorite entertainers are appearing at the Granada. If he takes exception then close it down! Downtown Lawrence, which has had a popular reputation, is headed tor some serious image problems. It's bad enough with all the panhandling done on Mass. St.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Geoffrey Fourmyle

Keep out the "undesirables"?
Sooo the solution is to not have business-generating entertainers come to Lawrence?
Also, why has The Granada been mentioned in almost every LJW article about the shootings, but It's Brothers has not... (It's Brothers was closer; closed just before the shooting and frequently has problems with fighting on the sidewalk a outside the venue)
Why not build a big wall around Lawrence and stop anyone trying to get in, so we can make sure they are "desirable" enough? (and we would make Topeka pay for it?)

1 month ago

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David Holroyd

And Mr. Forer is yet another expert on EVERYTHING...he is just disappointed that he cant go along for the late night journey. He prides himself as the son of a professor. The new chancellor should look at the history of the relationship of "town and gown".

Mr. Noever, makes a valid point. It seems Last Call had a problem and the "heat" was put on that place. Mr. Logan , though is the golden boy of the entertainment scene and Lawrence wants to make a name as the Entertainment Capital of the Kaw.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Bob Summers

Make Larryville a Liberal sanctuary city then there are no crimes. There is no spoon.

1 month ago

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