Archive for Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Woman courted killing, Police Chief Olin says

September 26, 2006


One friend said Marsha Lynn Mace was fun to be with "99 percent" of the time but didn't respond well to authority figures.

Police said Monday they believe Mace tried to get officers to shoot and kill her - and succeeded.

A Lawrence Police officer fatally shot Mace, 36, early Sunday afternoon after a roughly 4 1/2 hour standoff at trailer No. 107 at Mobile Village, 110 N. Michigan St. Police Chief Ron Olin said Mace had threatened suicide and that she fired two gunshots inside the trailer throughout the day before emerging with a small revolver about 1:23 p.m. and firing at two officers.

Olin said Mace left behind a note, and he said that she was having personal, medical and financial problems.

"I am sorry to conclude that this was the outcome she desired," he said.

It was the first shooting involving Lawrence police in nearly 11 years. Police have not yet publicly 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.

LPD procedures call for the department to conduct its own investigation, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is helping analyze physical evidence. Despite that ongoing process, Olin said Monday it appeared to him the shooting was justified.

"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.

Longtime resident

Mace was alone at the home of her father, Jim, on Sunday during the standoff, friends and neighbors said. He and Mace's 14-year-old son were out of town visiting Mace's sister.

Jim is a part-time employee at the Flamingo Club, 501 N. Ninth St., friends said.

"She's been known in this town. She was born in Lawrence and grew up here. Overall, people liked Marsha because she was very upbeat and very personable, very loving and caring," said Robert Osburn.

Mace had worked for Osburn and his brother, Richard, at Naughty But Nice Inc., 1741 Mass., for about a year until she changed jobs in 2005. The brothers have known the family for 30 years, he said.

She would often greet customers with a "Hi, hun," he said.


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

"Marsha had one of the most outgoing personalities you'll ever see," Osburn said.

Recently, Marsha was working part time at Paradise Saloon, staff members said. Osburn said she had worked until 2 a.m. Sunday and that staff members told him she seemed to be fine.

Developer J. Stewart, who had dated Mace in the past and remained friends with her, said she worked at strip clubs as a cocktail waitress, but not a dancer. He said she was under "emotional stress" recently and was concerned about losing her home in the 400 block of Arkansas Street.

He said she recently had learned of brain-related health troubles - he wasn't sure of the exact condition - and that she did not have health insurance.

Chief's account

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. Olin said that Mace was "someone we know."

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.

A tactical team was called to the scene, and eyewitnesses described seeing officers maneuvering near the trailer with weapons drawn.

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 she wasn't harmed.

She later emerged from the trailer and began shooting, Olin said.

Tiffany Standfield watched some of the standoff from her balcony at Northwinds Apartments, 1311 George Court, and could see police but not Mace. She said she saw police officers trying to negotiate with Mace. She said officers gave her "plenty of chances."

She said that at the end of the standoff, she heard officers yelling for Mace to put her hands up, and that another officer yelled "Gun!" three or four times. She said she heard one shot, which she assumed came from Mace because she saw two officers who were behind a squad car duck down.

She said she then heard two shots in return fire and saw one officer fire from behind the car.

"I don't think there was anything they could have done different," Standfield said. "They were just kind of doing their job, and she got a little bit over excited about it."

Olin said he could not yet give the exact number of shots fired, by whom, and when, and that witnesses were still being interviewed Monday.

Mace was flown to a Kansas City hospital with what Olin said were two gunshot wounds. She died Sunday afternoon, but police did not announce her death until Monday morning.

Olin cited Mace's "depression," but he declined to talk about what was in the note she left behind.

"We extend our condolences to the family and to the officer's family," Olin said.

LPD to review

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and LPD detectives were still collecting evidence at the scene of the shooting as of Monday afternoon.

"The investigation is not complete," Olin said.

Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said Lawrence Police invited the KBI to assist in reviewing the incident, but that LPD would lead the investigation. KBI was in charge of the crime scene and had an agent present at Mace's autopsy, Smith said.

In general, Smith said, the KBI's role after a shooting is to examine the placement of evidence, angle of the bullets, and positioning of the people involved.

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.

When to shoot

Lawrence Police policies say an officer is justified in using deadly force when "the officer reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to the officer or another person."

Standard police training dictates that if someone points a gun at an officer, the officer isn't obligated to wait for the person to shoot, said Jerry Wolfskill, director of the Regional Police Academy at Johnson County Community College.

The academy trains officers for more than a dozen police forces around the Johnson County area and for state agencies, such as the bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Though the academy does not train Lawrence officers, he said all officers would use deadly force if a gun barrel were pointed at them.

That doesn't change, Wolfskill said, if the person holding the gun is trying to commit suicide.

"Even if you're getting that call of a possible suicide, it really doesn't change anything if the person comes out of the trailer shooting at you," he said.

Wolfskill said an officer in that situation would have one goal when firing: "To eliminate the threat."

City Commissioner Sue Hack, who attended Olin's 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.

Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said his office also would review the shooting.

'Adversarial situation'

Ken Wallace, owner of Jayhawk Cafe, 1340 Ohio, said Mace had cleaned his house in the past, and they were friends. He hadn't been in contact with her much in the past year, he said.

"She was just - 99 percent of the time - she was a lot of fun to be around. She could keep the good times rolling, and once she was your friend, she'd defend you to the end," he said. "I've been with her at times when things got a little tricky, but I was able at those times to keep things under control."

Wallace said Mace probably looked at her confrontation with officers as an "adversarial situation."

"This is a woman who did not respond well to authority figures," he said.


Charla Welch 11 years, 7 months ago

people with leg wounds can still shoot, christie.

christie 11 years, 7 months ago

I don't get it. Why is it officers are trained to shoot to kill. A leg shot or a lower torso shot would have brought this woman to her senses and perhaps she would have received the help she was needing.

Instead - cops kill. Protect and Serve? Rigggggght.

bangaranggerg 11 years, 7 months ago

well as a community we should make sure nothing bad ever happens to anyone... we're working on it. Mental health however is not something easily delt with on a sociatal level without disturbing freedoms we've all learned to love.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 7 months ago

first police shooting in eleven years, not an everyday thing around here. She passed away in the early hours on monday not sunday.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

One of the problems may be the police themselves. Just try telling the police that you think someone may be a danger to themselves or others, before it actually happens.

This happens often in abuse cases. And the police will tell you they can do nothing until the person actually becomes violent, actually becomes a threat. It's difficult if not downright impossible to get someone committed involuntarily, even if you know they need it.

Mark Kelly 11 years, 7 months ago

justthefacts... I could not agree more with every comment you have made. I have gone through rigorous law enforcement firearms training in a different jurisdiction and it sounds to me like they reacted appropriately.

concernedparent 11 years, 7 months ago

Its not like this lady walked out of her trailer and they just shot her. She was shooting at people. Police officers probably. But just think how close trailers are in a court and the safety of everyone, not just the officers. She shot (more than once) first, and unfortunately, the consequences were not good.

spammer89 11 years, 7 months ago

All I will say if it were me doing the shooting, mental issues or not and the police were called TAKE ME OUT, please for the fear I would hurt someone other than myself.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 11 years, 7 months ago

There was no reason to shoot her. A person hiding in a tree could have taken her down with a tranquilizer dart from a blow-gun. Or perhaps a person should have been stationed on top of her trailer with a potted plant, that way when she came out firing, the person could drop the potted plant on her head and knock her out. There was no reason for the police to shoot back.

anonymousgrl 11 years, 7 months ago

well put randyssgirl. could not have said it better.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

Yes, we should look at other options, because a life is a life, and if there are ways that this kind of tragedy can be prevented in the future, we should do it.

I'm not talking about telling families what to do. I'm talking about police procedure and different ways that they could handle this type of crisis.

BlackVelvet 11 years, 7 months ago

Okay...everyone listen up. If you have a loved one who is threatening suicide, DON'T CALL THE COPS. Call Bert Nash. or call the friggin neighbors or other townsfolk who know best how to handle things. Let THEM figure it out. Let THEM handle the situation and be judged by everyone else after the fact.

bambam 11 years, 7 months ago

Are any of you Police Officers maybe you need to do their job for a year and then come back and post your comment with some experience in the field.

anonymousgrl 11 years, 7 months ago

that police officer had family and friends that cared about him. She did too but did not take them into consideration when she was threatening her own life and shooting at innocent people who were only trying to help her. That officer did what he had to do to protect himself and others. he took an oath to serve and protect and he did just that. He is suffering. he did not want it to end like this but she left him no choice.

Clint Bradley 11 years, 7 months ago

doesn't the pd have tree costumes that would allow the officer to sneak up to the house and then subdue the assailant? or what about the pizza delivery trick?

estespark 11 years, 7 months ago

ASIMO. Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement.

anonymousgrl 11 years, 7 months ago

they are not accusations. There were witnesses and its all on record w the police. Sorry if I offended anyone. I am just stating my experiences.

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

I wasn't offended, I was trying to be an a - hole.

TheEleventhStephanie 11 years, 7 months ago

anonymousgrl , first you say "Having known Marsha personally I am justified in saying this." Then you contradict yourself with "she did not know me personally just knew my ex. " So did you know her or not?

Either way, I do agree with you on the point that the officers did their job. Just please watch what you say about a woman who isn't here to defend herself.

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

Mr_Ramirez Please look in the mirror, while reading your last post.

anonymousgrl 11 years, 7 months ago

I know her from personal experiences but she did not know me personally to do what she did to me. Does that clarify things for u?

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

Mr_Ramirez Please look in the mirror, while reading your last post. While talking to DanFreako on the phone.

Shardwurm 11 years, 7 months ago

Very sorry for all involved. I'm sure the officers are terribly distressed and second-guessing themselves. No one there - other than the woman - wanted things to turn out the way they did. Let's all keep that in mind.

msunderstood 11 years, 7 months ago

Please quit trying to make this your political fight, you were not involved. Marsha has a son and family that yoiu are not concerned about. The officer/officers that shot her made the decision they had to, lethal force or not why shoot her in the face. We all feel for all involved, but there is a point of no return and obviuosly this incident ended there. I will always remember her happy, you should too.

Shardwurm 11 years, 7 months ago

We get the point Onesmartpuppy. lol.

(Get your internet connection checked. :P )

Becca 11 years, 7 months ago

I agree that this woman's loved ones should be shown some respect and for everybody to quit squabbling over who did what and was it right or not. Stop and think for a second. It wasn't an easy decision for the officer to have to make. He should be shown some respect too, and not torn to shreds for making one of the hardest decisions someone will ever have to make.

onesmartpuppy 11 years, 7 months ago

I don't work for CSI, but I have been with a officer for 15 years and it is just as hard on those officers than you know. Plus remember we as readers and we never now the whole situation or the story by just reading the Lawrence Journal World or watching CSI! As stated we need to think about the officers and the family's loss.

gphawk89 11 years, 7 months ago

A person CAN be involuntarily committed before they cause physical harm to themselves or others. If you believe they are going to do something (they've threatened or suicide or threatened to kill someone) you sign an affidavit stating such. It's done all the time.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Haha. I love how Macon's posts become more frequent and more desperately offensive as the day progresses and no one pays him any attention!.

Here's your scrap, Macon. Go sit by the fire and gnaw on it.

lonelyboy 11 years, 7 months ago

If she is popping off random shots with no regards to neighbors and the public then she had no respect for anyones life at this point and needed to be stopped. What happens when a stray bullet kills an innocent person like your family member drinking their morning coffee or kid playing outside. Leg wounds are for the movies , tranquilizers are for animals. Center mass.

Sacerdotal 11 years, 7 months ago

NEVER point a gun at the police. I do agree, however, they probably could have gassed the place to slow her down and, perhaps, flush her out. Very sad situation for all concerned.

TheEleventhStephanie 11 years, 7 months ago

The cops should have just used a water gun, or at the worst, one of those guns that shoots ping-pong balls. Even though she shot at the cops, it would have turned out so much better if this woman had been given the chance to fire at more people. Neighbor kids, old people, puppies....Come on, you nitwits.

-->Those of you who are second guessing the officer in this situation are absolute morons. I'd like to phrase my response in a less offensive way but simply moron is the only word I can think of that is "G" rated.

Optimist--I second that emotion.

I am truely sorry for the loss her family and friends have suffered, but I find it hard to believe that the cops made a mistake here. Shoot at a cop, prepare for return fire. Isn't that common sense?

acg 11 years, 7 months ago

The cops are trained to shoot for center mass for a reason. TOB said it best. A leg shot is a very difficult shot to hit. If that cop misses where does that bullet go? (oldenuf, I'm sorry about your friend). Plus, when the cops are in a situation like this they're concerned with neighbors and bystanders. They can't wound that lady and just hope they did enough to save the lives of potential innocent victims. Once they're faced with the inevitable, they have no other choice but go for a torso shot, and I for one am glad for it. Ya'll know how I feel about cops. I don't like 'em and I don't trust 'em, but I think in this instance, they did what they had to do. So stop bustin' their balls about it sybil, you especially, you freak. Not everyone in the world can have a coke and a puppy. Sometimes people get shot and that's the harsh reality of life. If you're shooting at a crowd of cops from the doorway of a dingy trailer in shtsplat, Kansas, you can bet your sweet butt you're going to get shot. Life's a btch, you know?

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

'One friend said Marsha Lynn Mace was fun to be with "99 percent" of the time but didn't respond well to authority figures.'

With all the police bashing, she wasn't the only one!

arlo 11 years, 7 months ago

lol yup right there is the key!? some great cover up im sure! This by all means was a justified shooting. why does everything have to be a scandle. She was crazy and attacked police. They have every right to proctect their own lives when they are at stake. It's to bad that she was killed but remeber this officer has to deal with the fact that he/she took a life for the rest of theirs. I highly doubt they woke up that morning just itch to shoot some crazy lady...

Janet Lowther 11 years, 7 months ago

For once the police were somewhat restrained.

While it was a fatal shooting, they didn't riddle her with bullets as often happens.

As I understand it the Johnson County Sheriff's department is trained to empty their guns into a target, reload and do it again on the command "He's got a gun!"

Confrontation 11 years, 7 months ago

It doesn't make sense to say the cops should've "waited it out," since they did. They waited until she came out of the trailer and decided to try and take someone else's life just because she was sad and pathetic. If this woman were still alive, there's a good chance she'd have one of these "episodes" again and possibly kill other people. We should all be sending thank you letters to the police department. Afterall, it could have been you or your family member that she fired at next.

whatdoyouthink 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure her family and loved ones will love to read your last post AMAZED!!!! You insensitive jerk!!!

okos12 11 years, 7 months ago

Since Marsha Lynn Mace was already firing inside the house, why the police waited until she came out of the house? They should have outsmarted her, and not wait until she comes out with a gun. Better to fill the house with tear gas then kill her. Better to shoot her with a tranqualizer gun when she came out, then kill her. Instead of the police waiting a few hours, why not wait a day? It was her life and she was desponded, and she was in trouble, and she needed help. Instead of calling the neighbors, why not call a professional mental health expert to negotiate with Marsha? Is there nothing at their disposal that could have prevented this horrible tragedy? The police should have outsmarted her. There should have been many more options to HELP HER. Her precious life is gone. The police was wrong killing her. Instead of the police engaging in her sick game, they should have a master plan, how to peacefully bring it to a close. Marsha was somebody's Mom, and Daughter and friend and now she is dead. My deepest sympathy to her family. She did not sneak up on the police, she was in an inclosed trailer. The police should have called in negotiators with real brain power to save her life. G.G.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 7 months ago

You want to call people who disagere with you "Moron?' Here's one: narrow minded idiot incapable of thinking outside the box.

The development of non-lethal weapons, which could have been employed in this case, is big business and those develpers' biggest cutomers are law enforcement. If shooting to kill in all situations where a gun is pressnt were the goal of law enforcement rather than the preservation of life, law enforcement agencies wouldn't bother with companies that make non-lethal weapons.

The blood thirsty nature of so many posters here is is sickening. I bet you're all for punishment too.

bangaranggerg 11 years, 7 months ago

any reason for that comment DanFreako or are you just sadistic and unreasonable?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 7 months ago

It is my understanding that shooting for any reason other than to kill is "illegal". Cops are not allowed to shoot a leg, etc. It's that way in every American police department. When they shoot, they are require to take a kill shot. I'm not sure of all the reasons behind it, but it is NOT unique to LPD for this to be a policy. It's nationwide.

Just be glad they are good shots. A missed shot could mean the death of some innocent three blocks away. I knew a woman who lost her husband that way: he was at a gas station blocks from where a cop got into a shoot-out with someone. He took a bullet to the head.

TOB is also correct: the public's understanding of gunplay is based on TV and movies. It's HARD to hit a target with a handgun. And, with a moving target and adrenaline flowing... it's even harder. Shooting for the torso IS in the public's best interests because it reduces the likelyhood of missing and killing someone a block away.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

"Posted by whatdoyouthink (anonymous) on September 26, 2006 at 8:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm sure her family and loved ones will love to read your last post AMAZED!!!! You insensitive jerk!!!"

Yes, because everything law enforcement, or the rest of us, do or say should be acted around how the family or loved ones will react, because of all the people, they sure are the ones least likely to be partial or biased, aren't they?

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

I don't remember reading that the police did anything that didn't constitute waiting. She is the one that came out shooting. After she fired on initial contact. She was the LPD's problem. They couldn't leave her.

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

Marion - I think that the black helicopter that they use to deliver their press releases was down, so there was a slight delay.

okos12 11 years, 7 months ago

What will the police tell her child? We killed your Mom because she was in mental distress, and WE CALLED IN THE NEIGHBORS! to negotiate, and when that did not work, and she came out shooting, we shot her in response.

How to deal with the mentally ill? or mentally distressed? That is the question?

How about having a team of experts ready who is ABLE to NEGOTIATE. Eventually she would of got tired or go to sleep. Why not wait it out. Anything, but killing her. The job of the police is to assure a safe outcome. Shooting her is an outrage.

estespark 11 years, 7 months ago

Leg wounds? Tranquilizer darts? I suppose if a criminal in a stolen car is trying to run over a cop you folks think the officer should just shoot out the tires.

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

Sybil - BTK Killer

When you find one of these mental health professionals, please spend some time with them personally.

"Why on earth couldn't the LPD take a woman alive from a frickin trailer?"

Maybe because she was throwing lead.....

amazed 11 years, 7 months ago

Christie - why don't you try being a cop and deal with these psychos every day? Your judgement, I'm sure, would better protect us all.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

If she had a health problem involving the brain, that would explain any erratic behavior she had. And the police should have known that information when they responded.

Olin acts like he's surprised that suicidal people will confront police, and ultimately want to be killed by the police, rather than do it themselves. This happens every day, somewhere in the country. I've heard of it numerous times, so it's not that unusual.

I still think using a tranquilizer gun would be a good option in cases like this. If they can figure out how to bring down a huge bear, on the defensive and full of adrenalin, without killing it, then I'd think they could figure out how to do the same thing with humans with guns.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 7 months ago

I am amazed that most of this town doesn't seem to grasp the concept of excessive force. Shoot to kills seems to be the way the LPD deals with despondent people.

amazed 11 years, 7 months ago

Actually, I'm not an insensitive jerk, WHATDOYOUTHINK!! I respect the police and the job they have to do. Common sense tells me that if I fire a gun at a cop, I should be prepared to die. Period. People who immediately criticize how the police respond (especially when, if you think about it, they did what one should expect) are irresponsible in their thinking and just ignorant, really. As far as this woman's family is concerned, I feel for them. She was a beautiful and obviously very troubled person.

jafs 11 years, 7 months ago

Interesting issue. I think the officers acted in accordance with their training and were justified in that regard. However, some of the ideas above may have some validity. For example, tranquilizer darts might be effective at preventing the threat without killing the person. This would help not only the victim of the shooting, but also the officers involved. As several others have pointed out, it is traumatic to take a life, even when it seems to be justified. So shouldn't we do everything we can to reduce that trauma and save lives? This woman seems to have been depressed, and after getting some help, might have regained her desire to live. Wouldn't that have been a better outcome for all concerned?

Rhoen 11 years, 7 months ago

So sad - That poor woman...

It's obvious that authority figures didn't deal well with HER, rather than the reverse noted in the story.

Health issues ... no insurance ... marginally employed ... mental illness ...

Local Authority Figures would no doubt hope that others in those categories - what they apparently see as "human clutter" who populate Lawrence - would take a page out of this lady's book, do themselves in, and alleviate the town of the responsibility for helping them.

This would leave more time and resources for art shows, planning meetings, benefit dances / dinners / cocktails / golf, development studies, sculptural displays, task-force studies, grand openings, roundabout building, post-office clogging parties, and all of those other goings-on that make this such a nice and fun place to live for some.

Condolences to this lady's friends and family. So sad that her life had to end so soon and so tragically.

cutny 11 years, 7 months ago

Olin needs to go. He is secretive at best and dishonest at worst. This is the second time in his tenure that a parent calling for assistance has had their child shot by the police.


acg 11 years, 7 months ago

awww, danfreako and mrramirez, did I offend your hippy sensibilities? Did that get your birks and dreads all in an uproar? I guess you would rather the cops stand around out there, let her empty her gun and hope that she doesn't hit anyone? And then maybe they should've taken her out for ice cream.

mom_of_three 11 years, 7 months ago

When she came out and shot at the officers, then it is the officer's duty to protect the public and then themselves. I am sure the officers would like another choice than to shoot a mentally ill person, but even a shot in the leg or in the arm may not incapacitate a person enough not to harm anyone else.

optimist 11 years, 7 months ago

Those of you who are second guessing the officer in this situation are absolute morons. I'd like to phrase my response in a less offensive way but simply moron is the only word I can think of that is "G" rated.

None of us have ever been in this situation. There is no way at the time for the officer to know her intent. You have no idea how far she was willing to go to ensure they killed her. You don't know how close she was to the officer, what her posture was at the time or what the back stop was. What if the officer would have attempted to hit her in a "non-vital" area and missed. That bullet may have traveled far enough to land in an adjacent neighborhood hitting an innocent.

Officers are taught to aim center mass for many reasons: a) It's a bigger target thus increasing the likelihood of hitting the target. b) Removing the threat quickly saves lives. c) Aiming for a smaller area and missing risks the lives of people blocks away.

Some people would question anything the police do no matter what the outcome. The charge here is that they should have shot her in the leg or arm. Assuming they had there is still no guarantee that she would have lived. Severing an artery in either could just as likely have been fatal and for a period of time she would have still been able to fire on police and possibly kill one of them in order force police to kill her.

Given the information available at the time there is no reason to believe the officer acted inappropriately and in fact I suggest he did exactly what he should have done. I infer from the fact that two shots struck her that at least that many shots were fired at her. Given that fact I suggest she was likely shooting at the officers or closing quickly and in a threatening posture and they feared for their safety and that of others nearby and they felt forced to act urgently to stop her.

All parties to this incident are victims including the officers forced to kill her. I can't imagine any officer wants to shoot anyone and to find out that this woman provoked a confrontation for the sole purpose of ending her life (death by cop). This incident will weigh on him the rest of his life. It will have an effect on him, his family and probably his job for many years to come. I hope he is able to come to grips with it and know that most of us have enough sense to understand the situation for what it was and do not judge him as a bad guy for doing what he had to do. Where is your compassion for the officer's emotional wall being and that of his family?

amazed 11 years, 7 months ago

Duh, Sybil, did you not hear that she was shooting a gun at them? Give a rest.

hk45 11 years, 7 months ago

Sybil, I wish I lived in your fantasy world, because it must be a wonderful place. You really need a touch of reality to see how the real world functions.

ModSquadGal 11 years, 7 months ago

Of course it is a tragedy for Ms. Mace and her family and friends. No one is denying that. And our hearts naturally go out to them in dealing with this horrible incident.

However, I cannot imagine any police officer waking up in the "mood" to kill someone. Can you imagine how the officer who shot her must feel? Their job is to protect people. That is what the LPD officers were trying to do, but they had to harm Ms. Mace in order to continue to protect the public. They did negotiate with her for hours, and they did not go rushing in either of the two times she fired her gun in the trailer. Nobody here was at the scene (well, probably not anyway), and therefore nobody can truly know what went on. The officers were doing what they have been trained to do, and Ms. Mace was inciting them to shoot. Nobody likes the outcome of this incident, but if you are stupid/demented/depressed enough to come out of your house shooting at the cops, you should expect to be shot in return.

As for WHERE they shot her, that is standard policy, as many have said. I'm sure the officer hopes he will only wound the person, but in the heat of the moment and with a moving SHOOTING target, you have to just take your shot and stop errant bullets from flying around hitting innocent people.

Only 2 shootings of this nature in 11 years sounds like a pretty damn good record to me. Some people are never satisfied no matter HOW the police respond.

justthefacts 11 years, 7 months ago

Man I can't believe how many people think that a woman who SHOOTS AT THE POLICE did not deserve to get shot back in return!! Mentally ill? Yes. Sad? Yes, very. But avoidable? Probably not!

Should the police have stood by and let her shoot the place up (or at them) without returning fire? Nope!? What if she hit the nieghbor's kid? THEN would it be ok to open fire? With bb's?

She came outside and start shooting. At that point, nothing but returning fire was appropriate, to protect the public and the officers being fired upon!

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

I really don't see why tranquilizers couldn't be used in cases like this. Yes, they're primarily used on animals, but there's no reason they couldn't be used on people. They do it all the time in hospitals, when someone becomes unruly or aggressive. And some of them take effect very quickly.

Seems it could at least be an option to be considered. It could possibly have saved a life.

bjamnjm 11 years, 7 months ago

Those cops, they should have done a number where they come in with hovercraft and cryogenically freeze the whole trailer, take it down to CDIC and thaw her out in a 100 years when they've discovered a cure for what ails her. Wait, wait a minute, how about if the cops did a number like Mel in Lethal Weapon and jump out there with a gun in his mouth and dare her to pull the trigger before he does. The cops did all they could, her mom called them over and they haven't had to shoot anyone like this in 11 yrs. All this about the cops should have done one thing or another is goofy.

acg 11 years, 7 months ago

How can you walk around and be so stupid? I mean, can you bathe yourself? I have my doubts. This woman, regardless of her sex, race or mental capacity opened fire on police officers. Are you getting that freakboy? She opened fire, with a loaded gun. Not a cap gun, not a pellet gun or a stun gun but a loaded freaking gun. She fired first, from the point they walked up her steps to try and offer her some assistance. Why are we even debating this? She fired at cops, they shot her, she's dead, end of story. She got what she had coming to her. Is it sad? Absolutely! Is it awful for her family? I'm sure it is, I've been there. See, four years ago, cops had to shoot my cousin, who was acting like an ass, waving around a gun. He's dead, and it was sad, but he got what he got because he played a dangerous game and lost. So did she. I don't understand all of the uproar. What would have had the officers do? If you have such a better answer as how to handle police tactical procedures in this sort of incident, please enlighten the rest of us. You're obviously an expert. Oh and as for my parents getting hit by a train, that's nice. That's the sort of response I would expect from someone as dim as yourself. You can't handle harsh reality so you resort to wishing death on someone's parents. That's not at all the behaviour of a junior high school punk.

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

Tranquilizer darts are not an instantaneous stopper. If you have ever watched an animal after being shot, they stumble around, then they fall over, and then they are out.

If that animal had a handgun during this time, I am sure you would hear Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop..........

Kelly Powell 11 years, 7 months ago

right on center mass does not constitute a death sentance....shoot to maim is the operative word.

scary_manilow 11 years, 7 months ago

The Lawrence PD DOES have nonlethal weapons at their disposal... Why they chose not to use them in this case is a matter of specualtion-- I prefer to think they were just trying to justify their own testosterone-fueled egos, but that's just me.

Also, having a dad who's a cop, I know for a FACT that these guys have extensive training in "shoot to disable" techniques-- The fact that they killed her outright should cost someone their badge. Seriously. There was no need for this woman to die.

But I guess as long as Ron "Supercop" Olin is in charge of things, no one will have to answer for these actions, so why bother complaining? Gotta love our pig cops.

Mark Kelly 11 years, 7 months ago

The_Original_Bob and optimist couldn't be more correct with their comments. When you are in a "gun battle" or anything resembling what LPD experienced with this woman, one of the cardinal rules of gun safety is to "know your backstop and beyond"... that's one of the main reasons why you aim at center body mass. Trying to hit a moving arm or leg from 30-50 feet away is impossible. What if they shot at her hand and it went flying by and ended up striking a child in a backyard a block away... then you would all being calling for the head of the officer that should have just shot her in the chest. Plus the fact that those inquiries as to why they didn't shoot her in those places are irrelevant... SHE SHOT AT OFFICERS... once that gun is pointed at them they aren't going to hesitate... let alone if someone fires off a couple shots at them. Those of you attempting to place blame on the police department need to find something else to do with your time. That's just down right stupid.

DanFreako 11 years, 7 months ago

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

Tammy Copp-Barta 11 years, 7 months ago

Christie .. if you think it's so easy to have someone shooting at you, why don't you step up and become an officer? Funny how people always expect the police or any law enforcement person to just stand there and take it. Lot of people talk the talk ... but don't walk the walk ..

promitida 11 years, 7 months ago

When it comes down to it, very few of you have any idea what you're talking about. And I think before anyone passes judgement, you need to give it time. Good gracious. You all like to get fired up. Police brutality!!! Uneccessary force!!! Give me a break.

DanFreako 11 years, 7 months ago

I actually knew Marsha; she was a very caring person that is leaving behind a 14 y/o son. She was always the life of the party and was cheerful to most everyone she meet. She did put her decision to die in the hands of the police, that is something that the police are going to deal with the rest of there lives. I really feel bad that she choose to end her life in such a matter; I feel for her son that now has the stigma attached to him for the rest of his life. Commenting insensitively about Lawrence PD and excessive use of force is a little immature. It was her intentions and LPD had not a lot leeway in the matter, she was a person that had many hard breaks and did not deserve her final curtain call. Maybe peace will befall her now, RIP Marsha.

Daniel Shoemaker

DanFreako 11 years, 7 months ago

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

Topside 11 years, 7 months ago

Hey, I'm definitely not the biggest police defender, BUT if she has shot first they have every right in my book to bring her down with any means necessary. You kind of waive your right to safe capture once you try and kill the ones trying to help you.

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

lonelyboy is mostly right.

Marsha had 4 1/2 hours to think what would happen if she came out of that trailer with a gun.

A person shooting a gun at the police has made their intentions crystal clear.

msunderstood 11 years, 7 months ago

I love Marsha and will miss her dearly, could you all show some empathy for those of us mourning!

Charlie Bannister 11 years, 7 months ago

I just had to make a comment in reference to christie, who asked why not shoot them in the "leg or lower torso" instead of killing them. I was in law enforcement in the K.C. area. Have you ever even fired a handgun christie? If you had, you would know how hard it is to aim at a leg or arm even when the situation is calm and no adrenaline is flowing. Besides that, even if someone managed to be the best crack shot in the world and hit them in the leg, arm, or lower torso, if the subject is wanting to shoot you BEFORE they get shot, you can bet they are REALLY going to want to shoot you AFTER they are shot in the leg or lower torso. That is why police are taught to "eliminate the threat", in other words, use deadly force to "center mass", the chest area. It is amazing how naive some people truly are. Hope this helps in some small way.

BlackVelvet 11 years, 7 months ago

I sincerely invite every one of you who knows the LPD did it wrong, to apply for a job as a Police Officer and show them the right way to do it. Come one, put up or shut up. Show the world the better ways to do everything.

evera 11 years, 7 months ago

I didn't know her but I do live about 5 trailers down I have say that there had to have been a better way to deal with this they had 4 hours to use a non lethal forces. I agree that she came out and opened fire as a result was shot that is how police deal with that situation. I can not understand the ones that say how sorry they feel for the police that shot her but have no sympathy for her taking the job of a police officer has these risks and they know that as much as she knew the risks of firing on the police. I am not saying police did the wrong thing I just think that there has to be some tactics that would have got her out of that trailer safe. There are alot of kids in this nieghborhood that have to hear about this and may have even witnessed this or atleast heard the police shoot this woman. The reality of the world that things like this happen daily I just wish that we can learn from the mistakes and try and improve the way that they are handled. It is idealogic to think that they will always end with no casulties but is something that we should strive for.

Mark Kelly 11 years, 7 months ago

justthefacts said:

Posted by justthefacts (anonymous) on September 26, 2006 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Man I can't believe how many people think that a woman who SHOOTS AT THE POLICE did not deserve to get shot back in return!! Mentally ill? Yes. Sad? Yes, very. But avoidable? Probably not!

Should the police have stood by and let her shoot the place up (or at them) without returning fire? Nope!? What if she hit the nieghbor's kid? THEN would it be ok to open fire? With bb's?

She came outside and start shooting. At that point, nothing but returning fire was appropriate, to protect the public and the officers being fired upon!

There is really no way to argue this point... I'll happily point out that there have been instances around the country through time when officers used force that was not necessary... but here you have an instance where a subject came out of a residence and shot at officers... they are justified in shooting back and did the right thing... no matter what anyone else says. Regardless of anyone's personal opinion about Olin, the LPD, the woman's mental state, etc... SHE SHOT AT THEM... what would you do in that situation if you were an officer?? Bottom line... someone points a gun and/or shoots a gun in the presence of an officer, he/she will return fire and be justified in doing so... oh, and they sure as hell aren't going to try and shoot and arms and legs that are moving around... that's ridiculous. Center body mass is what they are trained to shoot at to minimize risk to the surrounding area... and those who think center body mass is an automatic death certificate are wrong.


justthefacts 11 years, 7 months ago

Anyone who has ever been shot at gets to have an opinion on this topic. Anyone else (no matter how kind or good your motives) really doesn't know what they would (or should) do in such a situation. Until you have been shot at by another human being, it's probably not a topic you have enough information about to have an informed opinion. This talk of merely wounding or shooting back with non-lethal means is perhaps well-intentioned, but not coming from someone very well informed; those things do not stop/work in cases where a shooter is firing on you.

werekoala 11 years, 7 months ago

Does police brutality happen? Sure.

Around here? It's pretty rare.

Was this a case of it? Hell no.

All these armchair quarterbacks who want to gas her, or tranq her, or have a team of 10 hostage negotiators sitting around idle at all times (when we don't have working sewers fer chrissake)? You're being unrealistic. Tazers, etc are great for dealing with unarmed subjects. Someone firing bullets at random into a populated area has passed a threshold beyond which use of deadly force is unfortunately the only immediate remedy we have available.

Hopefully, in the future, there will be some instantly-effective non-lethal disabling device out there that is just as effective as a bullet. I guarantee you that for the rest of his life, the officer who shot her will wish there was, so he does not have her life on his conscience. But here and now, there is only one way to immediately end a threat to the lives of officers and civilians.

Does it suck? Hell yes, this isn't a Disney movie. Does blaming the officers for the only possible conclusion to this whole damn tragic affair make things better? Not in the slightest. And yeah, a cop gave you a hard time because he caught you speeding or smoking reefer. That sucks, and you don't like the "pigs".

Fair enough, but that doesn't justify heaping conspiracy theories and slanders and shoulduves upon guys who did the best they could with an impossible situation, and are just trying to protect themselves, and the citizens they serve, and get home in one piece at the end of the day.

My sympathies to the victim's family and the officers involved.

okos12 11 years, 7 months ago

I feel very sad and my heart is full of sympathy. I wish that Marsha's son and family will receive competent support.

I been thinking all day of this beautiful poem by Christina Rossetti.

Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.

justthefacts 11 years, 7 months ago

My heart breaks for this woman's poor family. Losing a loved one is never easy, and under these shocking circumstances the mourning is probably even harder to bear. However, attacking the police officer who did what he and all officers are trained to do in these circumstances, does not denigrate this woman's death. To blame them for actions she put into motion is not realistic or kind to anyone. Reality is often painful, but feeling sorry for the results doesn't make the facts any less true. And for the love of all that is true, anyone suggesting she be tranquilized or knocked out with a potted plant have obviously never tried doing that to a gun toting human beings. The odds are extremely high that neither tactic would work, at least without her squeezing off a few more gun shots into neighboring homes! She obviously was out of her mind, and to be pitied, but the police who were FORCED into shooting her did what all police training taught them to do in such situations. If you don't like that training, and these results, please by all means sign up and become a police officer so you can follow your own suggestions next time there is such a terrible situation!

chzypoof1 11 years, 7 months ago

Marion - Another conspiracy theory from the best "Mel Gibson" impersonator. They have to notify the family (that was out of town) before they announce her death. Try again......

And I'd like to see all of you out there go for a "leg shot" when you have bullets flying at you. I"m sure our soldiers should shoot to "incapacitate" someone with an AK too? She shot FIRST. She knew what she was doing.

I feel for the family. I've known people that committed suicide. It's tough. But the police did nothing wrong. They were defending the public and themselves.

reality 11 years, 7 months ago

Okay guys...enough crap about the police. I want to know which one of you would give your life for less than $60,000.00? That's more than some of our officers make in a year! That wouldn't even pay for your house, or college for a child. Come on, the city fights every year not to pay our officers more, and then you talk about how you expect them to stand there and be shot at. Unless you put a uniform that puts your life at risk every time you put it on, SHUT UP!!!!

anonymousgrl 11 years, 7 months ago

First of all my sympathy goes out to her family and friends and all that mourn her. Having known Marsha personally I am justified in saying this. Marsha had ALOT of problems. She attacked me while I was pregnant, punched and pulled me out of a moving vehicle, threatened my life and my child's life. Threatened me on numerous occasion...when she did not know me personally just knew my ex. she was not all there and had lots of problems. I know w out a doubt if given the chance she would have killed those officers and intended to do so. Being an ex wife of two police officers I can say how dare any of you judge those officers. You were not in that situation to judge them. it was shoot and kill or be shot and killed. they are trained to protect and they did. By god there were innocent children there. She had numerous problems. She had a record several inches thick on domestic violence on people and I know this for a fact.

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

Anonymousgrl- Maybe she was trying to get you to shoot her. Seriously, she is not here to defend herself on these accusations and if she was she would probably 'punch and pull you out of a moving vehicle and threatened your life and your child's life.'

So be mindful.

monkeywrench1969 11 years, 7 months ago

Hey Smitty,

I guess this one fell into the 11% catagory. I would be curious how many attempted suicide situations like this one have occured over the years with the positive outcomes in the 44%. You would never give them credit if they did nor would the LJW who don't find the headline that "sexy" or controversial to sell papers.

You need to remember if the woman was not allowing the police to get close to the trailer without popping off rounds my guess is they can't get close to "physically" overcome the woman with their hands or some form of bean bag, mace netting or over device so ignorantly suggested in the some of the previous posts.

They had negotiators talking to her...everyone was talking about trained professionals or friends could have talked her out peacefully. How many friends at the trailer court do your think are "trained" professionals.

The cops did not try to bum rush her inthe trailer which in most news reports I hear in the KC area tend to force the potential suicide person to shoot at the police int he first place setting the ball in motion. It has been noted repeatedly, she had people to talk to the phone and it was her running from the house and shooting at the cops that caused this.

SHe could have sat in her house all day drinking beer, talking onthe phone, watching tv in the comfort of her place until she passed out or said take me to the hospital to get checked out. Since the cops are there it would have been the burden of the tax payers to get her help then.

randyssgirl 11 years, 7 months ago

I would like to know why people always think that questioning when to shoot and not to shoot is okay? You were not the one being shot at! The LPD is there to protect us and themselves, if you were holding a gun and someone shot at you what would you do?(yeah right I am sure aim for the leg and hope you hit there) I knew Marsha we worked together for a little over 2 years, I loved working with her and had lots of fun with her, and she will be missed dearly, I am sorry for her family and her son, but the fact of the matter is SHE WANTED this to happen , so stop blaming the police for doing thier jobs the way that you would want them to, if this was a mentally ill person that was endangering your life or that of your childs. Understand that every situation is not going to be text book when it comes to a policemans job, things aren't always going to go the way that they want it to, or the way that they plan to carry out stratigies that are put together by trainers. If she needed help then she needed to ask for it, a policeman is not going to know that someone needs help when they arrive at the scene of a stand off, nor would they know that she wanted this to happen, I can only hope that if you ever need help from the police that you will appolizge to the police officer that helps for the comments that you make about them, because it just maybe the same one that had to shoot her.


jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

"Posted by OldEnuf2BYurDad (anonymous) on September 26, 2006 at 9:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

TOB is also correct: the public's understanding of gunplay is based on TV and movies. It's HARD to hit a target with a handgun. And, with a moving target and adrenaline flowing... it's even harder. Shooting for the torso IS in the public's best interests because it reduces the likelyhood of missing and killing someone a block away."

Yeah, whatever. I played through the first SIX missions of GoldenEye getting perfect head shots on each and every person they threw at me. How hard can it be?

rousseau108 11 years, 7 months ago

withouit repeating what everyone else has said, to those of you who say they should have used a tranquilizer or bean bag gun when she is actively firing at police and endangering civilians nearby, GET A CLUE! the bean bag gun is NOT to be used when someone is exercising lethal force against you. PERIOD. in fact, to do so would go against all established protocols and create liability for the police. do some research. for all those who say this should have been done, or that, i pose this question to you: What would be the ideal circumstances in which the police shot a suspect who was firing on them. by this I mean what scenario would be acceptable to you to where you had no criticisms of the police. I ask this question b/c it is obvious that you will not have an answer. This is a textbook example of giving the woman every chance to resolve the situation before being forced to shoot her. they had negotiators out there, but if someone has made that decision to end their life (either by their own hand or forcing the police to do it for them), no negotiator in the world can prevent this. but I forget this is Lawrence, where no one has to take responsibility for their own life or actions.

dacs23 11 years, 7 months ago

I don't remember them saying where they hit anyway. Isn't the shoulder part of the torso and the arm. Clearly they didn't hit a vital since she made it to the hospital.

Furthermore, not all mental illness is best dealt with by a shrink. Violent mentally ill individuals do not make good clients and are better handled by the police (Axis II personality disorders or individuals under the influence of drugs).

Death comes to us all in one form or another, she chose her terms. I do not see it as a tragic loss but the nature of our existence. Sorry to say but I do not think life is always a better option. This notion of avoiding death at all costs is inhumane. Take our elderly and the argument of putting pets down but not our own. She chose her terms. I hope to do the same when my time comes.

monkeywrench1969 11 years, 7 months ago

It floors me to think that Lawrence "the service capital of the state" did not have a way for her to see many of her problems through. Granted she may have some issues which would never be resolved but there are mental health on sliding scales and small short term finacial assistance programs all over the place if you ask and/or seek it out.

It is obvious she did not do this.

Many are saying and mental health professional would have been able to talk to her and offer support. Who gets called when a person is out of control at home, school, in group therapy, etc. the cops...because these people are not hands on. They are only there for mental support. The cops at the gym I train with always talk about how the mental health folks have a rude awakening when the "big hug" therapy doesn't work and patient "becomes anti-social" or "is off his meds and I can't reach him."

onesmartpuppy 11 years, 7 months ago

Ok - enough is enough. Those officers are out there to protect all of US. If it happened that she accidently shot the cop or a child - you would be just going off about "why didn't the cop shoot her" Some of you think that you know the rules of the Police or Mental Health, but you haven't been in those Officer's shoe nor thru the training that they went through. Yes they are taught to hit center mass - and if they were protecting my child, myself or my family - I would want them to stop the shooter no matter what. Some say shoot her in the leg - don't you realize that under stress or a moving person it is hard to shoot at a leg or arm that is holding the gun. Lastly - you think you know what goes on in the head of person that has a mental disability - those officers are trained in deals with that as well - more than you think. They deal with all kinds of situations everyday - could you? Give it up - I am proud to have them protecting me and my family. My sorrows go out to the family - and those officers that were there that day.

onesmartpuppy 11 years, 7 months ago

Ok - enough is enough. Those officers are out there to protect all of US. If it happened that she accidently shot the cop or a child - you would be just going off about "why didn't the cop shoot her" Some of you think that you know the rules of the Police or Mental Health, but you haven't been in those Officer's shoe nor thru the training that they went through. Yes they are taught to hit center mass - and if they were protecting my child, myself or my family - I would want them to stop the shooter no matter what. Some say shoot her in the leg - don't you realize that under stress or a moving person it is hard to shoot at a leg or arm that is holding the gun. Lastly - you think you know what goes on in the head of person that has a mental disability - those officers are trained in deals with that as well - more than you think. They deal with all kinds of situations everyday - could you? Give it up - I am proud to have them protecting me and my family. As for some of you bringing up what happened 15 years ago with Greg Seiver - this is the same situation - some of the community went after the 2 officers - but as you well know those 2 officers are still on duty and they didn't do anything wrong as well as those officers on Sunday did nother wrong - they followed protocol! My sorrows go out to the family - and those officers that were there that day.

onesmartpuppy 11 years, 7 months ago

Ok - enough is enough. Those officers are out there to protect all of US. If it happened that she accidently shot the cop or a child - you would be just going off about "why didn't the cop shoot her" Some of you think that you know the rules of the Police or Mental Health, but you haven't been in those Officer's shoe nor thru the training that they went through. Yes they are taught to hit center mass - and if they were protecting my child, myself or my family - I would want them to stop the shooter no matter what. Some say shoot her in the leg - don't you realize that under stress or a moving person it is hard to shoot at a leg or arm that is holding the gun. Lastly - you think you know what goes on in the head of person that has a mental disability - those officers are trained in deals with that as well - more than you think. They deal with all kinds of situations everyday - could you? Give it up - I am proud to have them protecting me and my family. As for some of you bringing up what happened 15 years ago with Greg Seiver - this is the same situation - some of the community went after the 2 officers - but as you well know those 2 officers are still on duty and they didn't do anything wrong as well as those officers on Sunday did nother wrong - they followed protocol! My sorrows go out to the family - and those officers that were there that day.

HelenHartnett 11 years, 7 months ago

well, i would like again to remind people that we are talking about a human being, actully many humans involved in this case. very sad for all involved. i would hope that we as a community could look at this incident and dicsuss how it could be different in the future. could we have mental health professional back up? could we not put an officer in the position of making such a life altering decision? i have had nothing but postive interactions with the LPD, but i believe we as a community failed someone who needed our help. she may have had suicidal thoughts, and wanted to act on them, but many do.
i also think that the headline was inapproapriate, and that her picture was a violation, we did not need to see that.

as always, a social woker

badger 11 years, 7 months ago

I am saddened by this woman's death.

I don't, however, think the officer should have done anything different.

Sometimes, people are just suicidal, and the instrument they choose for that suicide is the police department. It's sad, but you have as much likelihood of talking them down and into giving up the gun as you do of talking someone off a bridge or talking him into telling you what he took so they can try to save his life. It happens that people are reasoned out of suicide, but not as often as I would like it to. I've lost more than one friend to it, and my heart goes out to the friends and family of Ms. Mace because I know full well it's not an easy loss to face no matter what method they used.

The officers probably knew what she was doing. They had negotiators, they had people talking to her on a cell phone, they tried. She fired off two shots and they still tried to talk her down. Sometimes you just can't.

She came out firing. If she'd kept firing, she could well have killed one of those officers, or the girl foolish enough to be watching a situation with gunfire involved from less than a hundred yards away (I used to live at Northwinds, and I can vouch for the fact that you're close enough to the trailer park that if bullets are flying you could get hit), or any one of the dozens of kids living in the immediate area.

Others have said it before, but if you talk to any cop he'll tell you that if you fire on someone, it's because you believe your life or an innocent bystander's is in danger, and under those circumstances you do not take chances with a leg or an arm shot, you don't take chances with a slow-acting tranquilizer, you shoot for center mass until the person you are firing at stops. If that officer drew his weapon and fired, I believe it was because he felt it was a life-or-death situation, and while I am very sad that he's having to face the awareness that he took a human life over the weekend, I'd be a lot sadder if he were regretting not firing while the community mourned a child, a fellow officer, or a neighbor.

I'll admit I'm not up on nonlethal weapons that could have resolved this situation differently. Anyone got a link to something that could have been used on a wildly firing woman to bring her down quickly and safely without endangering the officers further? All I know of is tranq guns (take effect too slowly) and tazers, which invite speculation as to what, exactly, muscle convulsions would do to one's trigger finger and aim.

ranger73 11 years, 7 months ago

If any of you have ever been taught how to handle or shoot a gun, you would know that you are taught that any time you pick up a weapon, you shoot to kill. Shooting the gun out of someone's hand only happens in the movies. Center "x" shots are what you are taught. Optimist is correct-law enforcement are trained to eliminate the danger to themselves and others as quickly as possible. This is a terrible thing that occurred, but it seems there was not much anyone could have done once the weapon was picked up. Too bad for the family of both Mace and the officer involved.

compmd 11 years, 7 months ago

If someone opens fire in a residential area, it is the duty of the police to protect the public. If you understand the kinematcs of gunfire then you understand why this is important. Do you think Mace was an expert marksman? A couple of degrees in the wrong direction or a ricochet and we'd have an article about some nice old lady getting killed by a stray bullet through a window and half the people here would be screaming about the police not doing their job.

Its not like "suicide by cop" is something new. Don't condemn the officers for doing what they were supposed to do.

Non-lethal weapons are not always immediately effective. A tranquilizer can take time, and during that time, someone can continue shooting. The effectiveness of tasers on different people can vary also, especially on people who are on drugs. Beanbags will certainly pack a punch on most people, but their effectiveness varies on the physical properties of the target.

This whole mess is regrettable, but Ms. Mace knew what she was doing, and the LPD did what they had to do.

tenziewenzie 11 years, 7 months ago

I just wanted to say that it is horrible that this happened, and I feel so bad for those that knew her, but to those of you that are saying that the cops could of shot her somewhere else, and maybe she would of lived? Think of it this way. It is a good thing she passed away, because the system is screwed up. they would not of seen to it that she got the help she needed. They would of sent her to prison. They never get people the help they need. They alway's just throw them in the slammer. Think about it!

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm not saying that the cops were wrong in what they did. It's a terrible, terrible situation for both the family and the police.

But shouldn't we be looking at other options and other ways that this could be dealt with in the future, with a more positive outcome?

Maybe if it was easier for families to have their loved ones put in treatment when they first begin to show erratic behavior, it would help a lot. Sad as it is, it sounds like this woman had had problems for awhile, and not much was done about it.

AngelKing 11 years, 7 months ago

Good lord, she got what she wanted. Coming out of your house with guns blazing is NOT A CRY FOR HELP. She wasn't hoping this would get the attention she needed to get the help she wanted. She wanted to die. It's unfortunate she chose suicide by cop, because some poor cop has to deal with having shot her now. The only humane thing that could be done is exactly what was done. All I can say is that if I'm ever that disparate I hope there's not some idiot trying to "save" me.

dthroat 11 years, 7 months ago

Damn, angelking two post on different topics and you get me to respond. Good going. This one I have to absolutely agree with you on. Sometimes people make tough decisions and force others into bad circumstances. Nothing can change that and I feel bad for the people (family and cops) who are left to deal with that. Neither group has a choice in their fate. They just have to deal. Hope both sides have good support groups.

And I totally agree that IF I make that decision for myself there are no "do gooders" to interfere with that. Of course, I would not force someone else to do it for me if it came to that.

And the posters can have a field day IF that ever happens.

HelenHartnett 11 years, 7 months ago

this is a human being, and we ae responding to what we READ in the paper, guns blazing? a shot? we know little about the moment when she emerged from the house or how that happened.

i blame no one, but i hope we can learn and try to make this not occur in the same way again, why do we continue this crap.....come on people are are people and someone is dead and someone is going to have to deal with the struggle of knowing he/she pulled the trigger.

hey, if this happens to me in some way, please don't find some photo of me and let my family choose how i am sopken about

marycontrary 11 years, 7 months ago

Thank you to all the members of this great community who have posted loving, thoughtful, and caring comments about Marsha and her family, and about everyone touched by this tragic event. I am touched by these loving sentiments, made without a thought of recrimination, speculation, or argument. To those who knew and loved Marsha best, those who are hurting: do not take the comments of a few insensitive and narcissistic bloggers as an indication of how the community feels. There are hundreds of people in this community who were touched by Marsha's life and the lives of those who love her; there are so many of us that care so much about what you are going through. There are less than a dozen bloggers who, not thinking about who might read these comments, are more preoccupied with proving a point or arguing a position, and who have written insensitive or unkind remarks.
Please do not take their thoughtlessness as an indication of how the rest of us feel. Please do not underestimate the silent many whose hearts are full of thoughts, concern, and love for you and for Marsha.
You are in our hearts and in our thoughts and we want so very much to share your burden in any way we can, because we love you.

Rhoen 11 years, 7 months ago

If anyone in Lawrence has a loved one in a situation like this, with the loved one in such a severe state of danger as this because they've lost their hope / their minds ...

Don't call the police - Something like this is likely to happen.

Don't call Bert Nash - They will tell you to call the police.

Don't call Lawrence Memorial Hospital - IF they are up to telling you anything at all, other than "sorry, we don't have any mental health facilities," they will tell you to call Bert Nash or the police.

Don't call National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Lawrence unless your crisis is occuring during the one or two hours of the month that this group meets.

You might try calling Osawatomie State Hospital to see if they can connect you with a physician on-staff (though there are only a few of them) or a duty nurse. These people might give you some useful advice or, if you loved one is at all capable of talking to them, might be able to convince the loved one to ask for voluntary commitment.

You might try calling Topeka / Shawnee County mental health facilities. Or if it is at all possible, try to convince your loved one to ride with you to Shawnee Mission Medical Center or KU Medical Center and convince them to ask to be voluntarily committed.

Other than the above, I'm afraid there is not much you can do except to keep praying and trying to hold on to your own mind / hope.

Again - condolences to the family and thoughts and prayers to this young woman. So sad.

Angie Dick 11 years, 7 months ago

This is a bad deal. Let's see what laws we can change for the mentally ill. By law police can't force a person to go for treatment, the person has to cause physical harm to themself or another, before they can do anything. If the person is of age, they can refuse treatment, all the police ect. can do is talk to them and ask of them to go to treatment. So another words we need to see what we can all do to get them help before it comes to that point.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

Yes, people can be involuntarily committed, but it's very, very difficult to do. This is because in the past, some families would have loved ones committed just to get rid of them. So, the pendulum has swung too far the other way now, making it more difficult to get someone committed. It has to go through court, and even if you have a psychiatrist that says it's necessary, if you also have one that doesn't, chances are it won't happen.

What the hell does threatening to kill someone have to do with it? My ex bf did that. I called the police. They said they couldn't do anything about it unless he actually tried to carry it out. Otherwise, it was just his word against mine. I felt so protected. (sarcasm, sarcasm)

You might be able to get farther with someone threatening suicide, but again, if they deny it to a psychiatrist, and there are no physical signs that they've attempted it before, chances are you won't be able to get them committed.

reginafliangie 11 years, 7 months ago

I just don't understand some of the comments on here. Where does it say officers used neighbors to try to talk to her? It doesn't, that in it self would be just plain dumb. (yeah, lets put more innocent people in danger). They had PROFESSIONAL Negosiators on scene that talked to her for hours. They asked her over and over to come out without weapons and she chose not to listen to their request. It was her intention (from the little the chief has mention) that this was the outcome she was hoping for. She knew that officers wouldn't shot at an unarmed person, so she made sure that they would by being armed and taking the first shot. Do some of you who think using gas, bean bag shots or other methods is really going to stop somebody from continuing to shoot? No, they are not in their right mind. Usually adreniline is pumping hard and they are in a certain mind set. If the officers did use those types of weapons, whats to say as she is going down from the pain that shes not going to keep shooting as she is falling, thus putting more bullets in the air or where have you to hit another inocent person near by. For all of those out there who think they could of resolved this situation in a different manner, please, please apply for an officers job. But in the same respect please understand there are rules in force at the police department. The officers don't wright them and whether they like the rules or not, they took an oath to uphold the rules and laws and act accordingly. Just like the rules of any work place. They may not always like the rules, but you have to follow them according to their protocols. Another suggestion would be to take a citizens academy class with the LPD. I believe they offer one or two a year where you can go and learn about their protocols and situations, ride with the officers and see what they do on a daily basis. I think it would really open some peoples eyes on what these men and women do everyday that we wouldn't even have 1/10th of the stamina to do day after day.

Tychoman 11 years, 7 months ago

Other than the troll truthlawrence and Marion, who could possibly think of a conspiracy theory at this point? Is the story not clear?

a2thek 11 years, 7 months ago

Let's face it. she took on the LPD and lost. But she really won because now she is free, free from the misery of all the crap that she brought on herself in her lifetime. All her problems were her problems that she couldnt get away from or steer clear from. I think she brought closure to her issues and was ready for some type of end. Bankrupcy is over, financial woes are over, any depression or medical problems or bills are over and last but not least her life is now over. The Police acted correctly, she had to be stopped and this action was 100% appropriate and I do believe that it clearly sends a message that you dont mess with the LPD or we will take care of any situation that gets out of hand. I certainly makes me feel better that they do have the ability to take someone out that cannot come back to reality. LEts just face it, the game is over Marsha and you dont owe anybody anything and all those debters that you owe money to, they can kiss your a**.

Also this gives Dennis Steffis a chance to breathe for awhile from all the shootings at his place Last Call.

Oh yeah Macon47 , your not my hero.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.