Gunfire erupted after a hip-hop show in downtown Lawrence early Sunday morning, killing one person and sending another by air ambulance to a Kansas City hospital in critical condition.
The shooting happened just after 2 a.m. Sunday, when bullets hit and killed Robert Earl Williams, 46, across the street from the Granada, 1020 Mass.
Another victim, a 22-year-old man, also was hit by bullets near the club. He was flown by helicopter to a Kansas City hospital in critical condition.
Neither of the victims were from Lawrence, Lawrence Police Capt. David L. Cobb said in a statement. Police would not comment further Sunday on any details of the shooting. A press conference was scheduled for 11 a.m. today.
Police blocked off a large portion of the block while they investigated the shooting Sunday morning. Police said witnesses had identified a suspect in the shooting.
According to witnesses and official statements, a black male in a puffy jacket fired the shots from a handgun just after 2 a.m. Sunday, hitting the two men, before speeding away in a tan, 1990s General Motors vehicle.
The scene on the street was chaotic immediately after the shooting, several witnesses said. People ducked and walked low. In the 900 block of Massachusetts Street, bar customers scrambled back inside bars, which were closing at the time, after hearing the shots.
Police and ambulances swarmed the 1000 block of Massachusetts Street. In establishments that were still open, customers scrambled to windows to watch.
"It was really confusing," witness Katie Garman, a Kansas University student who was in the Pita Pit, 1011 Mass., said. "No one knew what was going on."
While taking out trash after the show, Granada employees saw the 22-year-old victim, bloody, running through the alley just east of Massachusetts Street.
They let him inside the club through the back door and attempted to help him.
Soon after, police came into the bar and found the man critically wounded, and within the hour had him flown by helicopter to a Kansas City hospital. Police did not identify the hospital.
On the west side of Massachusetts Street, Steven Bowen heard the shots and watched Williams drop face-first into the street.
Bowen rushed over to him, flipped him over and, with the help of a police officer, began performing CPR.
"I pushed down on his chest to get him breathing," said Bowen, who still had blood on his hands at the time of the interview.
By the time an ambulance arrived, Williams had a slight pulse and was breathing, Bowen said. But sometime between then and his arrival at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Williams' breath stopped. He was pronounced dead on arrival.
The violence began after a hip-hop show at the Granada featuring rappers from Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.
The show was an early date on a Midwest tour by artists from the Colorado-based hip-hop label Upset Records.
1020 Mass., Lawrence
An Upset Records artist, Doe, is from Topeka and spent time over the weekend meeting old friends and promoting the tour at a Topeka-area record store.
Granada owner Mike Logan said in a statement Sunday that bar employees didn't know whether the people involved in the shooting had been inside the bar or were lingering outside during the show.
He said that he was committed to helping police in the investigation.
Lawrence police said further details about the killing would be available at a press briefing today.
The outburst of violence Sunday morning surprised City Commissioner Mike Rundle.
Rundle denounced violence in general, but said that the talk of other violent incidents around town concerned him, including the handguns confiscated from cars outside of a downtown club last week.
"We need to make that problem not a problem," Rundle said.
City Commissioner Mike Amyx has heard the rumblings as well. He said he didn't know about race or music being an issue, but the crime certainly caught his attention.
All of the questions - the guns, the violence, the worry some residents feel - need to be answered, and fast, Amyx said.
"We're going to have to address this," he said, "figure out what's really going on."