Archive for Wednesday, December 9, 1998


December 9, 1998


A drive-by shooting left Lawrence residents shaken but unharmed Tuesday morning.

Gunshots peppered a house and two cars Tuesday morning in Old West Lawrence, awakening residents from their sleep and leaving police wondering who was involved in the drive-by shooting.

The two adults and two children -- a 1- and a 3-year-old -- in the house at 611 Ill. weren't hurt in the 3:45 a.m. incident. Police said the shooters were likely aiming at two cars parked in a carport off the alley between Illinois and Alabama streets.

Although the cars were parked at the residence, police reports identifying the owners of the cars were not filed Tuesday, and police spokesman Sgt. George Wheeler could not identify the car owners.

The adult residents of the house, a 24-year-old man and a 21-year-old female, declined Tuesday afternoon to talk about the shooting.

Neighbors, however, were busy talking about their rude awakening.

"I was working on my computer, pulling an all-nighter, and I hit the dirt in my office," said Phil Sisson, who lives around the corner. "It was so loud it shook my house. I heard four shots, and then a break for a second with about six more shots. It wasn't a firecracker."

Wheeler said no one reported seeing a car leave the scene after the shots were fired, but at least one witness heard a vehicle.

Passenger doors on the two cars were apparently hit by two different weapons. Police recovered shotgun shells and casings from a 9-mm gun in the alley behind the house.

Damage to the cars was $3,000, and the house sustained $200 in damage, Wheeler said.

Wheeler said there have been at least half a dozen reports of parking violations, loose dogs and trash at the house in the last three weeks, but no illicit criminal activity has been reported.

Bill Pugh, who lives north of the house, said he believes his complaints have gone unanswered.

"It is sad that there isn't a real response until it comes to gunfire in the middle of the night," Pugh said.

The city's building inspectors have taken note of the house's broken gutters and windows and missing screens. They have sent owner Collins Shorter at least three letters since Aug. 28 about trash in the yard.

Shorter, who retired Nov. 1 after almost 29 years with the city's sanitation division, was unavailable for comment Tuesday. He does not live in the house, neighbors say.

Gene Shaughnessy, the city's chief building inspector, said he'll suggest that city commissioners adopt a resolution calling for the trash at the house to be picked up. The resolution would give Shorter 20 days to remove the trash and other debris. If it's not done to the city's liking, the city will hire someone to do the job and bill Shorter for the work, he said.

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is

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