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Chief: Woman “desired” death in encounter with police

Marsha Lynn Mace was shot after shooting at police

September 25, 2006, 10:12 a.m. Updated September 25, 2006, 12:55 p.m.



Chief Ron Olin gives a press conference on the shooting of Marsha Lynn Mace. Enlarge video

A suicidal woman who was shot and killed in a standoff with Lawrence police Sunday afternoon left a note behind and was having personal, medical and financial problems, police said this morning.

"I am sorry to conclude that this was the outcome she desired," Police Chief Ron OIin said in a morning news conference.

An officer shot and killed Marsha Lynn Mace, 36, at 1:23 p.m. Sunday after a roughly 4-1/2-hour standoff at trailer No. 107 at 110 N. Michigan St.

In the moments before the shooting, Mace emerged from the trailer holding a small revolver and fired at two LPD officers, Olin said. One officer returned fire, he said.

She was flown to a Kansas City hospital with two gunshot wounds, and police announced this morning that she had died.

"We do have, on the scene and through our preliminary investigation, personal, medical and financial reasons for her depression," Olin said. "We extend our condolences to the family and to the officer's family."

Police have not yet identified the officer who shot Mace. Olin said that officer was interviewed Sunday evening and has been placed on administrative leave, pursuant to the department's policies.

"The preliminary information... clearly indicates that this was not caused by anyone but the victim, and that the officer took the actions he should have at the time that he took them," Olin said.

The standoff began shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday when an officer went to the trailer at the request of Mace's mother, who was concerned about her well-being. When the officer knocked on the door, Olin said, there was a gunshot from inside the trailer.

The officer sought cover at his patrol car and called for backup. Officers tried to contact her through a public-address system, and she was "despondent" when an LPD captain reached her by cell phone, Olin said. Eventually, three negotiators were called to the scene and negotiated with Marsh for about an hour and a half.

About 12:30 p.m., there was a second shot from within the trailer, Olin said, but negotiators at that time remained in contact with Mace and knew that she wasn't harmed.

Olin said he could not yet give the exact number of shots fired, by whom, and when, and that witnesses are still being interviewed. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and LPD detectives were still investigating the crime scene as of this morning, Olin said.

"The investigation is not complete," he said.

The last shooting involving Lawrence Police was in November 1995, Olin said. In that case, two detectives exchanged fire along the Kansas River with a suspect in a bank robbery and carjacking. One officer was injured in the shooting, and the suspect suffered two gunshot wounds before turning his gun on himself.

City commissioner Sue Hack, who attended Monday's press conference, said she and other commissioners had been briefed on the shooting. She said she was confident it was handled properly.

"It's a sad day," she said.

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acg 11 years, 8 months ago

sybil you're an idiot. And his name was Sevier. If you're going to champion someone's cause (even if you don't know what you're talking about) you should at least spell their name correctly.

msunderstood 11 years, 8 months ago

I have been friends with Marsha for years. I just wish you people who do not know her or what she was going through would show some compassion for the rest of us. We have lost someone very special. My thoughts are with the family right now, Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, I will miss you always!!!!!

whatdoyouthink 11 years, 8 months ago

What is your major malfunction macon???

I hope nothing like this happens to somebody you know let alone care for, and if it does. I hope you don't have to read comments about it like you posted.

DGL 11 years, 8 months ago

She got what she wanted: suicide-by-cop. I'm glad no officers were hurt.

Steve Jacob 11 years, 8 months ago

Very sad. Within the week her mother will have an article in the paper saying how police where wrong.

midwestmom 11 years, 8 months ago

It's a terrible situation for all involved. Prayers for the mother, prayers for the officer(s) involved.

kujeeper 11 years, 8 months ago

I agree with srj, this is very sad. This has to be extremely hard on the officer involved but I do hope her family doesn't make an issue out of this, she did fire at the officers.... Condolences to the family and all involved at every level.

parsimoniousjayhawker 11 years, 8 months ago

This is a very unfortunate incident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Mace family. And just as importantly, our thoughts and prayers go out to the police officer and his/her family. It was very unfortunate Ms. Mace placed this officer in the position to complete her mission. Her decision will have many short-term and long-term remifications for her family, our City, our police department, and the men and women who serve us.

paladin 11 years, 8 months ago

I'm not dead. Many times, I wish I was. So what.

lovineveryminuteofit 11 years, 8 months ago

Posted by observer (anonymous) on September 25, 2006 at 5:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

paladin was never a cop, even Mayberry wouldn't take him. sybil is just plain stupid

This is why there are problems.

paladin 11 years, 8 months ago

NO way. I have had guns pointed at me and fired at me by children, and I killed many of them early on, and not fired, and found another way. Its just the way it is now. Be careful. I'm sorry, but the PD did not do the best they could. They could do better. They knew to do only what they knew. A loss for us all.

whatdoyouthink 11 years, 8 months ago

empathy (mp-th) n.

Direct identification with, understanding of, and vicarious experience of another person's situation, feelings, and motives.

Sacerdotal 11 years, 8 months ago

Tragic in any event; peace to the family and to the poor officer/s who thought they had to kill to stop the situation. We are all wounded when this happens.

promitida 11 years, 8 months ago

Thank you guys for those who are supporting the young man who had to act in defense of his life. People just don't understand so much of the time what officers have to do and go through even though they know their communities might not empathize.

ru4ku2 11 years, 8 months ago

Paladin's display of ignorance grows with every post. Quite impressive.

NDNJAYHAWKER 11 years, 8 months ago


Confrontation 11 years, 8 months ago

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

bunnyhawk 11 years, 8 months ago

Two Words:


there is only ONE purpose for handguns............wake up folks!

Linda Endicott 11 years, 8 months ago

No comments on the possibility of using tranquilizer guns in situations like this? Would it be an option?

kansasnative 11 years, 8 months ago

What a horrible event for the Mace family and for the LPD. If this is the same Marsha Mace that went to Lawrence High and graduated in 1988 (and I apologize if it is not), I knew her pretty well then and am shocked and saddened at this tragic end to her life. I wish the Mace family and friends as well as the officer peace and strength to get through this time.

adky 11 years, 8 months ago

Paladin is correct. The older cops don't have the macho attitude that the young ones have. LPD has got out of control under Olin, especially when recruiting.

paladin 11 years, 8 months ago

I was a cop. I am also a Vietnam veteran of two combat tours. There is no way, if I had been there, that this unfortunate person would have died. The older cops, most gone now, know this. They would look at things differently. I would never have fired, but that's me, combat scared and all that. The young guys get juiced up by adrenaline and have never experienced that before and lash out, at it all. Its not their fault, really, its just the way it is. Like, tragic.

paladin 11 years, 8 months ago

HEY RON- BULLwhatever. Save yourself, buddy. That's what she's all about.

strateup 11 years, 8 months ago

Would you call the LPD to check on one of your relatives if you thought they were suicidal? Not me.

whatdoyouthink 11 years, 8 months ago

empathy (mp-th) n.

Direct identification with, understanding of, and vicarious experience of another person's situation, feelings, and motives.

bluerain 11 years, 8 months ago

It is a tragedy that a life was lost in the stand-off. I wonder if somebody like a pastor or female crisis intervention specialist was called in to speak with the woman. Prays to the family, community, and law enforcement.

monkeyspunk 11 years, 8 months ago

Wrong again sybil.

Police are trained to 'Shoot to kill' nothing less. Shooting to merely disable someone who intends to KILL others is irresponsible.

A person with a bullet wound to the thigh or knee can still fire that gun, endangering those around you. Though in pain, they can still kill.

samsnewplace 11 years, 8 months ago

paladin u don't know a thing. strateup, fine you check your own suicidal relatives and you be the one in the bodybag...easy solution. you idiots have no clue what those men and women officers go through on a daily basis, none whatsoever. my sympathy to the Mace family and the officer(s) families involved. it would never be an easy situation to be in and i'm sure when fired upon, it was a necessary decision.

midwestmom 11 years, 8 months ago

Sybil, don't even go there. A horrible tragedy has occurred affecting many lives and it is not productive to start slandering, implying and generalizing when the investigation isn't complete. How about exercising some restraint until more is known?

Law enforcement is a tough job, there are always people willing to offer negative comments when things end badly. How often are you there with positive comments when things go well? Believe it or not many, many people do their very best every day to improve and preserve our quality of life and incorrectly implying wrong-doing by a police officer only serves to further hurt those involved.

Think before you speak.

monkeyspunk 11 years, 8 months ago

oh bullhockey paladin. seriously.

'If I had been there, blah blah blah.' Arm chair quarterback anybody?

Since it is still not 100% known exactly what happened, how the heck can you come in here and say "Oh if I had been there, this that and this?"

What if she had the gun pointed at you? You would take cover? What if she walked down the steps of her trailer, walked around your squad car and pointed the gun at you? What would you have done then? Still would have held your fire? Really?

thisiknow 11 years, 8 months ago

Let us be mindful of what we post here. All parties involved are dealing with feelings, thoughts and emotions that we can only imagine. Marsha was a beautiful woman who has had her plate full lately and we cannot even assume how we would of /could of handled it. Marsha leaves behind a son, parents, sister and family that we should be supporting at this time. Do try to refrain from posting hurtful messages . Do not blow out of proportion what her parents might or might not do. That is ridiculous and senseless. We should all be willing to let this family mourn and give our support to the officer and his family as well. Once again, this is a tradgedy and we are not writing the story.

whatdoyouthink 11 years, 8 months ago

It would be nice if you would take a moment, and think about what you type before you do so. There may be people reading this that personally knows her, or is related to her. Just because you type something terrible, and end it with: prayers to the family does not make it right.

kansasrose 11 years, 8 months ago

Ms. Mace was despondent, and felt like there was no way out. Suicide is a horrible legacy to leave to those left behind. I know from personal experience. The Lawrence PD did the best they could; when a gun is pointed and fired at you, what else can you do? My prayers go out to the Mace family and to those that witnessed this horrible event. And, once again, this is proof that LMH needs to have in-patient mental health treatment.

Ceallach 11 years, 8 months ago

strateup: not unless I thought they were a danger, not only themselves but to others as well. Apparently she was a danger to others, why else would she have fired on police officers? (Little considered fact, when officers are shot, they bleed, same as you or me.)

It is truly tragic. However, blaming the officers so soon after an incident reeks of "personal agenda" more than evaluation of known facts.

Confrontation 11 years, 8 months ago

I drove by the scene before the shooting, and there were many bystanders checking in on the action. Althought the cops cleared the area, there were still those annoying citizens who feel that they have to watch everything (within shooting range). This woman could have easily killed one of these INNOCENT people. It's just like pulling a gun on Mass St. The cops have to protect those who aren't psychotic, which could greatly reduce the overall numbers of deaths. One really messed up lady OR several innocent people? What makes more sense?

ru4ku2 11 years, 8 months ago

Paladin, you are stupid and even more naive than any rookie cop if you think that you can sit in the comfort of your home and say for certain that, "there is no way she would have been died" if you were there. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. You weren't there and you don't know all of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

For you to say that you would have absolutely not have fired at her (even with her shooting at police) is absolutely stupid. THANK GOD YOU ARE NOT A COP ANYMORE. I can obviously see why.

Rhoen 11 years, 8 months ago

Exactly my thought, crazyks. Weren't there some recent articles and lots of posts here about the stun-guns the police were being trained to use?

duh 11 years, 8 months ago

in lawrence we have had 3 suicide in lawrence in just a few years. I know for a fact that at least one of them went to lmh for help...they were told they could call the police if they were gonna hurt themself, or they could go to topeka.( It has to be hard to ask for help in the first place, but to be turned away. How many people have to die.Lawrence is such a Liberal great town unless u have problems. I grew up here and am now 26 . I am sorry to say if u have problems and live in Lawrence ur screwed. No Alternitive High schools. No mental health.

To The mace heart goes out to u...

Bookie 11 years, 8 months ago

This wasn't an 'instantaneous reaction' as holygrailale suggests. The standoff lasted hours. Officers, negotiators and an extraction team were involved with attempting to resolve this. It wasn't until she came out of her home and fired at the team that she was shot.
Officers ARE acutely aware of 'suicide by cop' situations. Remember, they are humans doing a job we pay them to do. And contrary to the belief of some, they do not put their emotions in a bucket by the door when they put the uniform on. Please pray for the family and friends left behind and affected by this, AND pray for the officers, they too need our prayers .

ilovelucy 11 years, 8 months ago

Marsha was a pretty, charming, delightful person. She cared about her family and son. It is truly a tragedy that she felt there was nothing to live for. My thoughts and prayers go to her family, especially her father and son. Marsha, I hope you have found your peace.

stoptheBS 11 years, 8 months ago

Marsha Was my best friend. I had seen something like this might happen through out the past month. The cops understandably would not let me in the trailer court yesterday, but i knew she was going to do something crazy. i wanted to just go in and give her a hug. hold her and tell her everything would be o.k. like i had done several times before. I'm not sure if anything would have stopped her.

Richard Ballard 11 years, 8 months ago

"Paladin is correct. The older cops don't have the macho attitude that the young ones have. LPD has got out of control under Olin, especially when recruiting."

BS! We had an incident right here in Lawrence years ago when one of our "senior" cops shot a friends big old antique cash register in the middle of the night, right through the plate glass front window of his business. He said it looked like a bad guy standing inside the store in the dark!

On another note, no police or military agency in the United States, and probably the world, trains it's officers to shoot to wound, shoot for the arm, shoot the gun out of their hand, or any other such nonsense. They are all taught to shoot for the center of mass, and continue shooting until the threat is stopped. That more often then not results in death.

Despite what you see in the movies and on TV crime shows, nobody is a good enough pistol shot to do any of that foolishness while taking return gunfire.

I say Hats Off to the Officer who was forced into this situation. I hope he doesn't loose any sleep over it, because he did the right thing.


Getalife2006 11 years, 8 months ago

Some of you people are so insensitive! A family just lost their loved one due to circumstances out of their control no matter how hard they may have tried to help.

To all of Marsha Mace's family and friends:

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. My heart breaks for Marsha and what she must have been going through internally. I didn't know her really, but I do know her son. He's a wonderful young man with such a long road ahead of him without a parent.

I can only hope that he never has to endure the horrible comments posted here by unfeeling individuals with nothing better to do with their lives.

paladin 11 years, 8 months ago

I have been in the situation, many times. I would have handled the situation differently. So what.

doc1 11 years, 8 months ago

Paladin. You would have been the dead officer if you didn't react.

Actually they are trained to shoot to stop the threat, not kill. Anyone who thinks they can hit a moving target with a handgun just to disable would have to be a pretty good shot. They are trained to shoot center of mass because its highest percentage spot to hit something. I feel bad for the Officer and her family. It was her that shot at the Officer and he protected himself. Nothing else to say.

moonshine 11 years, 8 months ago

I am greived about the sadness that this city has to undergo. Wake up city fathers, our city needs inpatient mental health services providers. The city government along with Lawrence Memorial Hospital big wigs decided that our city does not need this kind of service to be provided to us. Why not put it to a vote and give us a chance to determine whether or not we need this service. How many more people have to be effected before they all realize, WE DO NEED THE SERVICE?

as_I_live_and_breathe 11 years, 8 months ago

Posted by bunnyhawk (anonymous) on September 25, 2006 at 4:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Two Words:


wondered how long it would take.....

monkeywrench1969 11 years, 8 months ago

Paladin I question your "record" any one can get on an say I was a cop and Viet Vet. The fact there has not been a police related shooting since 1995 (as the story says) seems to me that they have hired a lot of people who have used other methods rather than a gun. Where did you work...Mayberry. If you have not noticed there are stories weekly about guns being removed from cars at the Last Call it was only a matter of time before those odds boiled down to this.

The other thing is if a person is shooting a real gun at you ...I would never tell a cop he should shoot the bad guy with a "BEAN BAG" or other weapon becasue they were despondent.

reginafliangie 11 years, 8 months ago

powershopper: I know LPD don't use taser or stun guns so that wasn't an option. I don't know if they have the bean bag type of gun or not. But I'm thinking that if somebody is willing to shoot at officers several times throughout this ordeal that a bean bag wasn't going to stop her from firing again and again. They did what had to be done in the situation that they were put into. It's very sad for everyone involved and I feel horrible that this women felt there was no other way out of her pain. Everyone should be more conscience of their friends and family to help them so this type of tragedy can be avoided in the future.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 8 months ago

Maybe they should be trained, in cases like this, to shoot them with a tranquilizer gun, like they do with zoo animals. That way, maybe they'd have a chance to diffuse the situation without anyone being killed. If they know what dosage will bring down a huge bear or gorilla, they ought to be able to figure out what dose will work on a human.

Just a suggestion. I know next to nothing about police training myself.

paladin 11 years, 8 months ago

No blame, no fault. I just would have handled the situation differently. If she needed to be stopped, to be brought down, to be killed, so be it. I just don't think so. I think I could have handled it better and she would still be alive, in jail for awhile, mind you, and a whole lot unhappier, but still having a doubtful future, but still a future. I am no judge or no saint, but maybe I expect a bit higher than is usually dealt. To all involved, I'm very sorry for your loss. I will continue to do what I can to prevent any future, unneeded tragedies such as this. I am what I am, no apologies, I will continue to try to be better than that.

BlackVelvet 11 years, 8 months ago

There will never be a shortage of people who think they could have done it better. But armchairing things after the fact accomplishes absolutely nothing. No one knows how they would have handled this situation unless they had been there. Period. It is a tragic, unfortunate situation for everyone involved. No one here knows all the details, and therefore should not pass judgment on any of those involved.

Sigmund 11 years, 8 months ago

And if the shots she fired at the police had hit a innocent child, how would you feel? The police had no choice. She took away alot of options once she started firing that gun.

Fatty_McButterpants 11 years, 8 months ago

Paladin: I'm curious. What, exactly, would you have done differently? Would you have continued to let her shoot at you? Don't forget, the major portion of an officer's job is to protect the lives of those s/he serves. In a trailer court the surrounding homes do not have very thick walls that can stop a bullet. They do, however, have plenty of bystanders and children. Let's suppose that you had found some cover oh, great, battle-scarred vet that you are. What about the people standing around watching? Would you have tried to shoot her with a taser gun? Good luck - those have a 25 ft. range. Would you have tried to tackle her? You keep saying that you would have had a "better way" to handle the situation. Well?

klmammo 11 years, 8 months ago

"Posted by paladin (anonymous) on September 25, 2006 at 2:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"NO way. I have had guns pointed at me and fired at me by children, and I killed many of them early on, and not fired, and found another way."

This is bullsh!# all the way. No one who has been forced to do these horrible things openly blabs about it on an online forum. People who have been there, done that simply don't talk about it openly, especially with strangers. This idiot is a faker, plain and simple. My guess is a dishonorable discharge, maybe a deserter, if he even served at all. If you're the operator you say you are, I challenge you to give your name, unit, and dates of service so you can prove yourself.

notbushwacked 11 years, 8 months ago

This is very sad. Most people in our country don't take into account, besides the thousands of deaths in the pointless invasion of Iraq, the enormous number of people that the bush administration has pushed over the edge with their attack on the middle and lower class. For those of you who are victims of these damn republican policies, hang on, as soon as we boot out the republicans, things will begin to get better. There is hope.

rousseau108 11 years, 8 months ago

  1. the LPD are not using tazers and have not been trained to do so.
  2. "stun guns," "bean bags" , tranquilizers, potted plants, etc. are NOT appropriate responses when faced with someone shooting a firearm. PERIOD! To do so would be irresponsible as it increases the risk to the officers and any civilians in the area as it would not immediately end the threat to life presented by the shooter. These "less-than-lethal" alternatives have their place in certain situations, but this is not one of them, and no police department in the country would ever advocate using these tools in this type of situation. I know everyone wishes we lived in Candlyland where no one ever gets hurt and every problem can be fixed with a smile and a hug, but we don't. The citizens of Lawrence pay the police to do their job to protect others and that is exactly what they did. It would be nice if for once the city showed its support to the police in these types of situations.

eotw33 11 years, 8 months ago

you guys are idiots. you shouldn't talk bad about people you don't know. What she did was wrong and there is no doubt about that, the officer did do the right thing. but don't talk about her personally if you didn't even know her, i knew her personally and talked to her all the time and she was a good person that was extremely friendly and always helped people out. That's f'd up.

justsomewench 11 years, 8 months ago

the pillar-of-the-community character witnesses emerge...

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