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Archive for Tuesday, August 20, 1996

POLICE FOLLOW LEADS IN MURDER

August 20, 1996

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More than 60 leads are being pursued by police in their investigation into the shooting death last week of a Topeka man.

As friends and relatives on Monday planned to gather for funeral services today for Onzie A. Branch, Lawrence police continued to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.

The 24-year-old Topeka man, who was shot to death last week outside a Lawrence nightclub, was to be buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Topeka.

He is survived by a son, two daughters, his father and stepmother, his mother and stepfather, and three grandparents.

A family member declined comment Monday.

Branch was shot to death shortly after midnight Wednesday in the parking lot of Langston's Nightclub, 804 W. 27th.

Few details about the shooting, or the circumstances surrounding it, have been made available.

A representative of Langston's Nightclub management said Branch was not inside the club that night.

Police said a suspect or suspects approached a car in the club's parking lot, fired several shots from a handgun and hit Branch. The other three men in the vehicle, all of Topeka, were not injured.

A suspect vehicle, a teal or blue-green car, was seen speeding away from the area after the shooting, police said.

A representative of the club's management, who asked not to be identified, said Wednesday night was calm inside and no one was aware a shooting had occurred.

"It didn't start in the club, it had nothing to do with the club," the representative said. "The guy never even came in."

As of Monday, no arrests had been made.

"We are following up over 60 leads, and still pursuing many more," police spokeswoman Sgt. Susan Hadl said.

Police are requesting anyone who was in the parking lot that night or who has information about the incident to call Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County, 843-TIPS, or the detective division, 832-7530.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Callers remain anonymous.

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