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Archive for Monday, February 6, 2006

Police: Witnesses silent about Sunday morning shooting death

Police plan to interview second victim

February 6, 2006, 11:50 a.m. Updated February 6, 2006, 12:29 p.m.

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February 2006: A grim-faced Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin, right, passes by City Manager Mike Wildgen as he leaves a press conference about Sunday's early morning shootings in downtown Lawrence, which left 46-year-old Robert E. Williams dead and injured a 22-year-old man.

February 2006: A grim-faced Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin, right, passes by City Manager Mike Wildgen as he leaves a press conference about Sunday's early morning shootings in downtown Lawrence, which left 46-year-old Robert E. Williams dead and injured a 22-year-old man.

Police are chasing hundreds of leads from the early Sunday morning downtown shooting that killed one man and injured another - but many of the main witnesses aren't talking.

"It is very frustrating to know we have as many as a dozen witnesses in the community who are not talking to us," Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin said this morning at a news conference to discuss the murder.

The shooting happened just after 2 a.m. Sunday near the Granada, 1020 Mass., when bullets hit and killed a Topeka man, Robert Earl Williams, 46.

Another victim, a 22-year-old Kansas City, Kan. man, also was hit by bullets near the club. He was flown by helicopter to a Kansas City hospital, where he remained hospitalized Monday. Police said the man was alert enough to respond to initial questions; they planned a follow-up interview.

"I think from the preliminary interview, he doesn't know who (the shooter) was," Lawrence Police Capt. Dave Cobb said. "He was trying to get away."

Police said the incident took place after a hip-hop show at The Granada. About two dozen people had gathered to determine the location of an after-hours party with some of the performers, when an argument broke out among a half-dozen individuals.

"Guns came out. Shots were fired. Everybody runs," Cobb said.

Olin said police don't have a specific suspect. He said the investigation may take police out of state.

"Most of the leads," he said, "are not in the city of Lawrence."

For more on this story, see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's channel 6 and pick up a copy of Tuesday's Journal-World.

Comments

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 10 months ago

I went to Einstein's that morning to get coffee. The fire department was still hosing down the blood in the street. I told the girl behind the counter "I'll bet you all the money in my pocket that someone from Topeka was involved in this". You don't need a crystal ball to make that prediction.

What is Topeka good for? All they do is spend our tax dollars and export their crime into our communities.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

If it's possible to get anything done in Topeka this should be a topic of discussion. Local government deserves to have some disciplinary type authority over a liquor license. How much negative activity can a city government bear before even more violence erupts.

If a bullet misses an intended target the bullet can travel quite a distance for at least a block and/or ricochet.

We do not need to be like Topeka or Kansas City to succeed. The low violent activity that Lawrence once could promote is slipping away without some more proactive means to shut it off. The city needs to be able to project an extremely consistent and firm message to local night spots that this is not a tolerable circumstance no matter how much revenue a business generates. So far as I am concerned they can take their money and hit the road. Lawrence can still be extremely successful without the violent nature ofa few night spots.

Many long time Lawrence families have children who now socialize downtown at all hours of the night. Will Lawrence wait until one or two of them are gunned down before responding accordingly?

If owners of night spots will not change their venues after realizing what can happen more than once then taxpayers should demand that elected city officials take action.

The basically low/non violent nature of Lawrence and it's educational resources was a primary attraction 20 years ago.

coach 8 years, 10 months ago

I heard the parties involved were supposed to go to the last call but they heard of the other rap concert and decided to go there. Same crowd different place.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 8 years, 10 months ago

Hey, "Oldenuf"! Want to make a bet that the silence of the witnesses means that some are planning retribution on their own?

honeydew785 8 years, 10 months ago

I have had the pleasure to be in this unique mixtured town, whether it be at the school, at the bar scene or at work. But recently the postings that I have reviewed over the past few days have totally changed my mind. You see, I live in Topeka and have almost all my life. I am not fearful nor have I had troubles. I enjoyed this town for the simple fact (or used to be) that people here didn't just jump to conclusions. This is a fast rising commuinty. Things are going to happen. Bad mouthing the neighboring cities is not going to solve anything an I refuse to lay blame on anyone but OUR society. I have however been totally offended by the remarks that those from Topeka are nothing but thugs, gang-bangers, low-lifes anf trouble makers. You have some also here in Lawrence, because I read the paper. Most of the postings that I have read have had a more holier than thou feel and trust me, this town isn't filled with all saints. Bad things happen everywhere and in order to make bad things stop, there needs to be a solution. All I have read in the past few days is problems, because that's all negative attitudes towards others bring. Or maybe you are fooling yourselves by thinking if we grow, we can still keep bad apples out. Well, maybe you could if you have more on your plate than if a person can smoke in a bar after 2 a.m. or not.

I have read the postings for the past two days and from the just of it I feel very unwelcomed here and that people from Lawrence really don't like Topekans. So long for love thy neighbor....

After saying all that, I have voiced to all my co-workers how unwelcome I feel and how I feel I need to go back to my own community and work there. Afterall my kind really isn't welcomed here. Trust, I started my new job search today. Not that it matters nor my you care. But that's your prerogative.

It comes down to this, if you feel that there is such a problem with certain bars, do what you need to do to get them closed down. It's not that hard to figure out.

Thank you for the good times I thought I had here.

newsreader 8 years, 10 months ago

we should ban people from other communities from coming here, since obviously some of our are dumb enough to think only crime comes from topeka... let's not forget that Payless Shoes is HQ'd in Topeka! haha

space_rabbit_kerosene 8 years, 10 months ago

Hey honeydew: you left out miscreants and dimwits! Just kidding. I fully agree with you assertion that this problem a culturally systemic, however you can't deny the high crime rate in Topeka. Frustration among residents of Lawrence is understandable. My impression of Topeka is that of a HIGHLY repressed society populated by people who suffer epidemic alienation. While Lawrence has its share of alienation, the problem is not as trenchant. People walk around in Lawrence and engage strangers in conversation. Humans are biologically hardwired to be social. Part of the responsibility falls on Topeka to create a more healthy environment so the socially starved residents don't feel the need to leave their community to experience a commons inhabited by fellow humans. I don't know what to do. We are all doomed anyway. =) As luck would have it... I'm going to Topeka later today. Where do you recommend buying a good cup of coffee?

yeah_right 8 years, 10 months ago

My bet is that people aren't talking because they don't want the same thing to happen to them not because they are planning to retaliate.

deepthroat 8 years, 10 months ago

I have to chuckle over the typical NIMBY mind set that seems to come from many in Lawrence on this website. IMO, the larger city that you have, the more crime you will have as well. As much as some Lawrencians don't want to face the awful truth, with growth comes consequences both good and bad. Lawrence is NOT a small town, anymore. And it has become more and more segregated from a socieconomic perspective as well. Those who "have" are moving further and further away (read: west of Iowa) from "the bad part of town". My prediction is that in 5-10 years, Lawrence will have the same types of problems that KCK and Topeka have. It is inevitable.

space_rabbit_kerosene 8 years, 10 months ago

So why as a society do we promote economic growth as opposed to a more culturally sustainable quality of life?

yeah_right 8 years, 10 months ago

There are bad apples in every community. Lawrence has its fair share, too. There is a drug problem amongst Lawrence youth. This became apparent after working with many of them at a local pizza establishment when in college. There are thugs who were born and raised in Lawrence and do dirt in Lawrence. There are child abusers, molesters, rapists, thiefs, etc... in Lawrence. There will continue to be more and more as the city grows. If Lawrence continues to turn its head to these facts then you will have a much larger problem sooner than you think.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 10 months ago

Honeydew says: "I have however been totally offended by the remarks that those from Topeka are nothing but thugs, gang-bangers, low-lifes anf trouble makers. You have some also here in Lawrence, because I read the paper."

We have thugs and gangbangers in lawrence b/c you read the paper? Well, stop reading the paper please!

glockenspiel 8 years, 10 months ago

I've heard about this same problem in Kansas City, especially crimes downtown, some one gets shot in public, a ton of people see it, but know one will talk...

space_rabbit_kerosene 8 years, 10 months ago

I am not suggesting economic stagnation. I am suggesting that placing the growth of an economy above the quality of life it offers is ridiculous. A masters and servants debate is raised. Do we employ and economic system to serve human needs or do humans serve the needs of the economic system. The notion of balance, while sounding like new age semantics, is a fundamental archetype of all harmonious systems. I see the absence of a sustainable equilibrium as being the foremost problem from which nearly all other social maladies branch.

Staci Dark Simpson 8 years, 10 months ago

Nobodys talking because they don't want to get shot or as someone said above retaliation is in order. Thank the "don't snitch" movement for that.

yeah_right 8 years, 10 months ago

dhill - How dare you make such a hateful comment. The victim who died was a husband, parent, son and uncle who was very happy to be alive.

passionatelibra 8 years, 10 months ago

Sad to say I have heard many make the same comment as dhill. What the people who make that comment fail to realize is that those bullets also hit innocent bystanders, children and damages private property.

Goodell 8 years, 10 months ago

http://www.bestplaces.net/crime/?city1=8440&city2=9040

The ranking indices are 1-10, with a higher number corresponding with more crime. Crime rates from this are based on FBI data.

Crime Rate Topeka Wichita KCMO Lawrence U.S. Violent Crime 5 4 4 3 3 Property Crime 6 4 5 4 3

Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. All violent crimes involve force or threat of force.

Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. The object of theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims.

I don't know how current that information, but saying that larger cities have more crime is a ridiculous generalization.

Honeydew, every community has it's problems; I hope you're not claiming Topeka is safer than Lawrence (which I didn't sense you were because that would be an outrageous claim) but I don't think all Lawrence citizens think Topeka is bad. I think you will find statistics elsewhere that show Topeka has a higher crime rate.

Also see: http://www.criminalwatch.com/stats/ks.asp

hammysammy 8 years, 10 months ago

What is Topeka good for? Lets see, I wonder how many students from KU are from Topeka? How many people that live here work in Topeka or Kansas CIty. Less crime happens in Lawrence because its smaller, and because it is a "bedroom community", a more affluent community where a lot of people live, but don't work.

Steve Jacob 8 years, 10 months ago

Pike...very interesting, but let's have respect for the dead. He looked like he did his time, and has been out of trouble for 16 years, lets not jump on him. But come on, if you have information on a killing, tell the police. Does not matter who it is, when you let people get away with murder, you will feel worse when that person kills again.

bangaranggerg 8 years, 10 months ago

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Alison Roberts 8 years, 10 months ago

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topcityscatteam 8 years, 10 months ago

A bunch of wannabe local rappers rapping for a bunch of wannabe local gang bangers = nothing but trouble. There is something wrong with the water in Topeka, there is something wrong when I can attend several rap concerts in the gang Mecca of Los Angeles and have a good time, no problems, but frequent the few ones worth attending in this area and people end up shot and or killed.

Gabe Hoffman 8 years, 10 months ago

Coach: "I heard the parties involved were supposed to go to the last call but they heard of the other rap concert and decided to go there. Same crowd different place."

Beacuse we all know that people who go to rap concerts go to last call and kill people on a whim. Nice.

I don't think the music is the issue here. And i'm sure if the gentleman wasn't from Topeka, people would be saying otherwise...

What if it was John Denver concert and the kid was from Free State... You know those john denver fans are just so darn crazy.

slugger 8 years, 10 months ago

It says in the first article today that a police officer assisted the man that performed CPR in turning the victim over. Why wasn't the officer running after the gunman? Why wasn't the police officer contacting the police station that's right behind the crime scene? The authorities say that they are frustrated that noone will talk. Well, I'm frustrated that someone got away with a cold blooded killing right in front of the police station with an officer on the scene.

Steve Jacob 8 years, 10 months ago

Trust me, the person will be caught. You may get away with other crimes, but 1st degree murder is something the police will spend as much time-money-energy to solve. If if was self-defence, the person in question is probally talking to a lawyer right now.

Somewill be be arrested by the end of the week.

usaschools 8 years, 10 months ago

There is plenty of evidence showing that people who view violent behavior on tv are more likely to commit violent acts. This is indisputable and was proven decades ago. While I do not think it is reasonable to 'blame' rap music or violent programs for violence, I also do not think it is too big of a leap to suspect that, if viewing violence can cause one to be more likely to commit a violent act, then listening to music that promotes violence can do the same thing.

I am not saying that all rap promotes violence or that no other form of music does so. I am just pointing out that a connection between violent music content and violent acts is not an unreasonable supposition.

I recall attending a concert by the Clash during their "Cut the Crap" tour. They were a very angry band at this time, having just lost some of their core members. Their anger was infectious, provoking the crowd members, including myself, to violence. It was a combination of factors, but the group mentality was undeniable. The anger from the stage spilled out into the audience and it was very ugly.

Now it is quite probable that the incident at the Granada had nothing to do with any of this; I have no idea. I am only writing since some of you seem to reject the notion that music can contribute to violence and/or increase the chance of violence occurring. I believe it can; music is very, very powerful.

Don't blame the music, but don't deny the effect it has on people either. Just food for thought.

lonesome_breeze 8 years, 10 months ago

Slugger..pretty easy of you to armchair quarterback that police officer. Of course, you not being there,safe bet you have no idea the chaous that was the crime scene. Geeze i wonder what type of overload and potential tunnelvison your mind would be experiencing if you were suddenly thrust into that situation. Not too mention that civily speaking an officer's first obligation is to administer first aid to any victims, and then pursuit of suspects. But what the hell, easy of you to second guess. Where were you when hell broke loose on Mass. Street. My guess, safe and sound in your warm little bed. Not out trying to do a dangerous,thankless job, waiting to be second guessed by some body who doesn't know the first thing about the incident, or proper procedure.

formerlyKS 8 years, 10 months ago

OldEnuf2BYurDad,

You must really be more ignorant than your name suggests. You talk about "what is Topeka good for?" "all they do is spend our tax dollars..." While I lived in both Topeka and Lawrence, once upon a time, I can easily say that if it were not for Topeka, half of Lawrence would be unemployed. (OK, that is an exaggeration, but I believe the latest stats show over 3,000 uppity DG county residents go to their jobs in Shawnee county). If you hate Topeka so much, give up your jobs and cut the cord completely. You can't have it both ways...proximity to the larger town with better employment opportunities comes with a price.

I'll also say that people in Lawrence have this attitude (similar to JO CO) that they are better than everyone else; go to a real state and see how you compare! Kansas is and always will be a laughingstock. What recreational opportunities do you have? Oak Park Mall...whoa, hold me back! Clinton Lake? Can you say cesspool? People back there I guess have to try and feel superior to someone/something (in this case, Topeka), but really I suspect a lot of it comes from the fact people there know they are inferior to states like California and Florida, where recreational opportunities abound and people aren't so closed-minded. Everyone seems to think Lawrence is so "diverse," yet why is 91%+ of the population white? And diversity isn't being raised in the cookie-cutter sub-urbs of Johnson County. Give me a break!

deepthroat 8 years, 10 months ago

usaschools said: "There is plenty of evidence showing that people who view violent behavior on tv are more likely to commit violent acts. This is indisputable and was proven decades ago. While I do not think it is reasonable to 'blame' rap music or violent programs for violence, I also do not think it is too big of a leap to suspect that, if viewing violence can cause one to be more likely to commit a violent act, then listening to music that promotes violence can do the same thing."

Ummm...wasn't this evidence correlational??? In other words, do people who watch violence commit violent acts, or do violent people prefer to watch violence. Sorry but this has never been "proven" at all. Plenty of studies saying it goes both ways.

Steve Jacob 8 years, 10 months ago

Channel 4 says the name of the second victum is Pierre Burnett (not sure of spelling).

Bubarubu 8 years, 10 months ago

deepthroat is right, George Gerbner's cultivation theory (watching violence over time creates a predisposition to use violence) is not accepted. There is more than enough empirical evidence both ways. What usaschools refers to at the end of her/his post is a mob mentality, which is a very different, but equally unlikely, explanation. If the show was responsible, then why did only one guy get violent? Why didn't everyone else, or anyone else, who was there shoot someone or get in a streetfight?

banish 8 years, 10 months ago

lawrence local Thugs won't even attend an event like that anymore...They know that it's real trouble when people show up fron out of town...they barely attend last call night club...

nytemayr 8 years, 10 months ago

Until we clear this up maybe downtown bars should be closed at midnight.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

Hey, used a hose to wash down the blood! am I the only one who caught this:

now, power-washing the sidewalks is forebidden, given some enviro reg...power washing blood has gotta qualify too! or, at least, biohazzard?

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

throw the dozen or so uncooperative witnesses in jail until they talk? this is murder and attempted murder, and maybe four or five other charges.

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