Archive for Saturday, September 30, 2006

Police identify officer in fatal shooting

September 30, 2006


The one who fired the shot is a recently promoted police detective who his supervisors say was forced into a split-second decision no officer wants to make.

The woman who was shot and killed by Detective Troy Squire last Sunday was a well-known, lifelong Lawrence resident who one family member described as hard and fragile, loving and hateful.

Police believe she attempted and succeeded at what's commonly known as "suicide by cop."

A fuller picture emerged Friday of the circumstances surrounding the death of Marsha L. Mace, as hundreds of mourners filled a memorial service for her and as Lawrence Police announced they had finished an inquiry into the shooting and found no violations of the department's policies.

"Our review of this situation has shown that it is what we initially thought it was. There were no internal policies or procedures violated in the incident," Capt. Dan Affalter said.

Officers identified

The standoff began about 9 a.m. Sunday, when LPD Officer Kresten Spurling, a five-year veteran of the force, went to Mace's father's trailer at Mobile Village, 110 N. Mich., to check Mace's welfare at the request of her mother.

"He knocked on the door to check Ms. Mace's welfare, heard shots from inside the trailer, thought he was being shot at, retreated and called for help," Affalter said.

Police and Mace were at a stalemate for more than four hours, until she emerged from the trailer with a revolver and fired shots at police at 1:23 p.m.

Squire fired back, killing Mace.

Chief Ron Olin said officers had discovered that Mace had medical, personal and financial reasons that led to her depression and that he believed she was seeking to be killed.

Squire is a 10-year veteran of the force. Affalter said that Mace was shot with a 9 mm rifle and that Squire fired at her from behind the cover of a squad car that was parked directly in front of the trailer, where Mace had been entrenched with a gun and was negotiating with police throughout the morning.

"Detective Squire was one of the officers called in to assist in that situation," Affalter said. "Additional officers were called in from off-duty to help because of the strain it put on on-duty officers, and he just happened to be the person in a position to have to make a decision."

'Traumatic' situation

Affalter said that Squire had been taken off paid leave as of Friday and that he would be free to return to work when he is ready - possibly next week.

Squire began as a patrol officer, worked on assignment with the Drug Enforcement Unit and worked as a field-training officer teaching new recruits before being promoted to detective in 2004. He recently has been in the news for his role as the officer who interviewed Jason A. Rose, the man charged with setting the deadly October fire at Boardwalk Apartments.

"This is a very stressful situation, a traumatic situation," Affalter said. "It's something police officers train for day in, day out, month in, month out, their entire careers. Many, many officers are never put in the position where they have to fire a shot. ... It happens in a split second and afterwards it's often emotionally stressful for the officers that are involved, especially when you have tragic outcomes."

Affalter said other officers besides Squire were given paid leave because of the psychological trauma.

In some ways, Mace's death has been a death in the family for Lawrence Police. Her sister, Marketa McKenzie, said she once worked in the LPD criminal records department, and that Mace knew many LPD employees.

Affalter said that, as far as he knew, Squire and Mace did not know each other.

'Vivacious' personality

Mace was a cocktail waitress and also had worked at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The service Friday at Warren-McElwain Mortuary was standing room only, and some of the crowd spilled out under an awning outside the building.

"She was a fun-loving, vivacious girl. She really was a good mother, and she was a good friend," her sister, McKenzie, said before the service. "She did have bad times like everyone else."

McKenzie declined to talk in detail about what she knew of the incident, but said police had not released more details to the family beyond what's been said publicly about it.

Dozens of flower arrangements decorated the front of the room at the service, along with a photo of Mace. The service began with Mace's teenage son, Lukas, lighting a candle to symbolize his mother's spirit.

"We are beginning this service on Marsha's time, and you'll note that it's a few minutes late," Chaplain Angela Lowe said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Lowe said that Mace was a "friend to everyone" and was loved by her extended family and "all her sweethearts," drawing laughter from the room.

"To love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth and in heaven," Lowe said.

Lowe said she'd spoken with family members who recalled Mace as "a cute goofball" who was always joking around, laughing above the crowd and liked to be the center of attention. She was stubborn, strong-willed and "afraid of no one," Lowe said, and she had her own vocabulary of choice cuss words.

Her aunt, Judy Crawford, described her as "human."

"Marsha was unique, and that is why we love her very, very much," she said.

Said Lowe, "God will take care of all who mourn Marsha's death."

Report not released

As of Friday, LPD was not releasing the full contents of its investigation, Affalter said. Within two weeks, a complete investigative file, including reports from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, will be forwarded to Dist. Atty. Charles Branson's office for review.

Branson will then review the report. He could decide, if there are unanswered questions, to impanel a group of residents for a "coroner's inquest." Or, he said, his office may make its own determination- without the inquest - as to whether the shooting was justifiable.

"It's standard practice. It doesn't mean that we're calling it into question," Branson said.

- 6News anchor Janet Reid contributed information.


GOPConservative 11 years, 6 months ago

No one can argue that when a police officer is put into a situation where it is his life or the life of a suicidal person, he has little choice. The question is how to prevent being put into that kind of situation in the first place.

This is the second time a mother has called 911 in our community to ask for help and the second time the police have failed.

I have heard from several people who knew Marsha that wished they had been called to assist in the negotiations during the standoff. Certainly, her parents should have been involved.

Although I couldn't find it, I remember reading about a small community in Colorado where the police used loved ones and friends to talk an armed hispanic man out of suicide by cop.

With a quick Google search, I did find two other articles where the police were successful in preventing "suicide by cop." I'm sure there are more examples.

reality 11 years, 6 months ago

I think it is completely tacky for the Journal World to take a personal photograph of Troy's life and post it next to the photo of this woman. He is a police officer and made that decision ON DUTY. After being on the department for 10 years, I am sure that the Journal World has another photo of him in uniform on file. How dare the editor think that something special to him like an engagement photo is put in the paper next to something that could be described as the worse incidient in his career. This is the reason that I don't subscribe to this worthless paper!!!

whatdoyouthink 11 years, 6 months ago

Where is this coming from. Was she sot in the face for real? It never stated that.

gphawk89 11 years, 6 months ago

"Got a question for the officer that shot...did you really shoot her in the face? If you are allowed (are you) to shoot to any other part of the body, do you think you could have hit her? Is that what the training teaches you? Have you ever been offered less that lethal training through Olin's self made in house training?"

Smitty- Have you ever been in an extremely stressful situation, charged full of adrenaline, and tried to, with a handgun, in a split second from a distance, shoot a (moving) person in a very specific part of their body? And did the bullet hit exactly where you intended it to hit?

gphawk89 11 years, 6 months ago

OK, if the gun was a sniper rifle being fired by a SWAT member, the bullet should go pretty much exactly where the officer intended. I hadn't read that, but then I haven't taken time to read all of the undue number of articles LJW has posted on this incident.

dthroat 11 years, 6 months ago

gphawk89- for once smitty was almost right. It was a rifle, but not as you say a "sniper" rifle. A sniper would not have been that close and snipers don't use 9mm as far as I know. Smitty may be correct that the office is a special trained officer as I would assume that after 4 hours of stand off they would have the most trained people up front, and not some "rookie" who hasn't been involved in such stuff before.

And if you believe a "neighbor" could accurately report shw was shot in the face there is a problem. And I do NOT think that is true.

reality 11 years, 6 months ago

Apparently someone misunderstood my statement!!! I don't have anything but respect for our officers! No one complains when you have something stolen, or someone is outside your house, or you are needing to be rescued from a flood on 31st street...then the police department has the best training!!! Who cares about the Bordman issues...people that knew Gregory were scared of him. His sister was hiding from him because he was going to stab her!!! How many years ago was that?? Maybe the department finds Bordman to be an "eye catcher" and someone that makes the uniform look good!!!! Are you jealous of his fame???

Terry Jacobsen 11 years, 6 months ago

Hey, bash Olin if you want, but we live in a town that is pretty safe most of the time and crime is fairly low. I feel safe walking just about anywhere in the city any time.

This poor woman needed a lot of help and a lot of people who knew her failed her. Stop blaming the police for doing their job to protect the public. Start doing something to help your own loved ones before it comes to this kind of crises.

msunderstood 11 years, 6 months ago

Marsha was shot in the head. I do not know why police are trying to hide that fact if they followed protocal.

whatdoyouthink 11 years, 6 months ago

OK. Another question. Are we for certain that she did not just shoot the gun up in the air?

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