Archive for Thursday, July 17, 2008

Close to home: High-profile cases affect community

It's been a tragic summer of death in and around Lawrence.

July 17, 2008


Other recent deaths

May 4 - Thomas Crum, 60, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver near Sixth Street and Gateway Drive.

June 28 - David Dillon, 44, was struck and killed while riding his bike west of Eudora.

July 5 - Edward McGowan, 29, was struck and killed by a train in North Lawrence.

July 12 - Melvin Elliott Jr., 66, was struck and killed by a bus on Sixth Street.

In the first 15 days of this month, a motorcyclist was killed in a crash with a semitrailer; a scooter driver was killed in a crash with a city bus; a man was struck and killed by a train; and a Kansas University student was killed in her ex-boyfriend's home. The deaths all happened in Lawrence.

June was just as deadly across the county. An off-duty sheriff's deputy was struck and killed on his bicycle west of Eudora; a motorcyclist was killed in a crash near Lone Star Lake; and two men were killed during a robbery attempt in Lawrence.

"It's really been a tragic series of events," said Lawrence Mayor Mike Dever. "There's just a lot of stuff happening all at one time, and it's kind of disheartening."

"You're seeing one of those times that happen to be busy," said Lawrence Police Capt. Dan Ward, who leads the police department's investigations division.

No data or information indicates a pattern in all of the recent tragedy. "This is nothing to be alarmed at," Ward said.

Homicide rate up

While the causes of the recent deaths vary, the number of homicides is higher at this point in the year than the city has typically seen.

Lawrence police have investigated four homicides already this year.

Police records indicate the city hasn't seen that many homicides in the first seven months of any year since 2000, when nine people were killed from January through July. The last time the city has seen more than four homicides in an entire year was in 2005, with five killings reported. No homicides were reported in the city last year.

Ward remembers 1996, when three homicides occurred within 15 days.

"Obviously, when you have them close together, back-to-back like that, it does take a toll," he said. "It definitely tires you out."

During death investigations, Ward said detectives are committed to working intensely on the case during the first 24 to 36 hours.

"That takes a real big toll on an individual operating at that high a level," he said. "You end up putting off your family, you end up putting off your obligations, and so then catching up is difficult."

Ward said he and other emergency responders become accustomed to being around death, but it's something the department's chaplain says is easy for the community to take for granted.

"They're able to navigate their way through a lot of the losses that would normally set the public back," said Paul Taylor, a chaplain who volunteers for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical, the county's emergency communications center, Lawrence Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff's Office. "They're able to move from one crisis to the next crisis and do it in a very professional manner."

Community impact

Taylor, who helped with several of the recent notable cases, said the deaths are having an impact on the community.

"People are concerned," said Taylor, who is also associate pastor at Mustard Seed Church, 700 Wakarusa Drive.

But, Taylor said, it's natural and also part of being a community. He's hopeful something good can be brought out of the tragedy.

"If it's from an accident, we can maybe learn from somebody's tragedy, and if somebody didn't wear a helmet, maybe we can start wearing a helmet," Taylor said. "Maybe somebody would be prompted to set something in motion that would help prevent future trauma and accidents."

As the community reflects on this summer, Dever said people need to slow down and be careful.

"It's disheartening, it really is," he said. "Just be cognizant of what's going on around you."


doc1 9 years, 10 months ago

Oops... I meant Crosstown Tavern, not Crosstown gun and knife club. I keep getting it confused.

timetospeakup 9 years, 10 months ago

"This is nothing to be alarmed at" -- then why the alarmist-toned article jlw?

Adrienne Sanders 9 years, 10 months ago

They're both tragic, but I consider murder in a totally different category than motor vehicle or bike accidents.

doc1 9 years, 10 months ago

It could have been worse. They have had three separate shootings at the crosstown gun and knife club in the past couple months. On two of those shootings poeple were shot and on the most recent the shooter missed.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 10 months ago

Multidisciplinary: "You stole Gootsie's tagline!"you mean: "eh?"just borrowing itTheEleventhStephanie: "Geez, what'd I do now to get removed?"same as me, apparently... rubbed up against s...hole

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

deja,if you're reffing my posts, I take that as a compliment, given your amazing spelling, and obvious ignorance:that more homocides happen in the summer months then the other months possibly because the heat makes people more aggressive. My advice stay cool and watchfor bikes!!!---"homocides" didn't know we had a rash of killings of gay men! every point appropriate, whether your ADHD allows you to follow.
for too many years, our community has had the wrong priorities. fix streets instead of building roundabouts-literal and symbolic. 2% for art, while people are dying preventable deaths. throw money to rehab a depot ... etc.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 10 months ago

a tragedyg a traedygr a taedygre a tadygrea a tdygreat a dygreat day: granted, it's an iterative process.

Baille 9 years, 10 months ago

Yet not to thine eternal resting-placeShalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wishCouch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie downWith patriarchs of the infant world--with kings,The powerful of the earth--the wise, the good,Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,All in one mighty sepulchre. The hillsRock-ribb'd and ancient as the sun,--the valesStretching in pensive quietness between;The venerable woods; rivers that moveIn majesty, and the complaining brooksThat make the meadows green; and, pour'd round all,Old Ocean's grey and melancholy waste,--Are but the solemn decorations allOf the great tomb of man. The golden sun,The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,Are shining on the sad abodes of death,Through the still lapse of ages. All that treadThe globe are but a handful to the tribesThat slumber in its bosom.--Take the wingsOf morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,Or lose thyself in the continuous woodsWhere rolls the Oregon and hears no soundSave his own dashings--yet the dead are there:And millions in those solitudes, since firstThe flight of years began, have laid them downIn their last sleep--the dead reign there alone.So shalt thou rest: and what if thou withdrawIn silence from the living, and no friendTake note of thy departure? All that breatheWill share thy destiny. The gay will laughWhen thou art gone, the solemn brood of carePlod on, and each one as before will chaseHis favourite phantom; yet all these shall leaveTheir mirth and their employments, and shall comeAnd make their bed with thee. As the long trainOf ages glides away, the sons of men,The youth in life's green spring, and he who goesIn the full strength of years, matron and maid,The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man--Shall one by one be gathered to thy sideBy those who in their turn shall follow them. So live, that when thy summons comes to joinThe innumerable caravan which movesTo that mysterious realm where each shall takeHis chamber in the silent halls of death,Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothedBy an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,Like one who wraps the drapery of his couchAbout him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

TheEleventhStephanie 9 years, 10 months ago

I hope they fix the unfortunate omission of the letter "l" in Klundt on the front page photo.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 10 months ago

It's OK Tang! I will consider it flattery. But be careful - my peep MD is watching out for me!

ksdivakat 9 years, 10 months ago

THANK YOU dweezil222 .....that is EXACTLY what I thought! I am sooo sick of every thread being turned into corruption at the police dept!The only thing that yh is doing is cinching the noose around their neck if and when they go to trial.Uwish1020, I apologize if I offended you, that was not my intent, but if you were a "regular" on here you would know that every thread gets highjacked by these people about the same issue!! So I just wanted to call his/her bluff and ask for proof! Most bloggers are sick of this, but perhaps I should not have done this on this thread.I am sorry for all the loss that this town has endured in the last few months. And to the families who are suffering, my heart goes out to them and we do in fact pray for them nightly. Please accept my sincere apologizies for allowing the YH blogger to get under my ckin and divert my attention from the real story, which is the heartache this town is experiencing.

Kookamooka 9 years, 10 months ago

I don't remember the two guys getting killed in a robbery attempt. When did that happen? Does anyone have the link to that?

Baille 9 years, 10 months ago

A little poetry is good for the soul. Whether it be by the Dylans or by Bryant. With so much violent loss in the community this summer, measured and considered thoughts on death can be helpful - I think.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 10 months ago

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

Quigly 9 years, 10 months ago

Death is the end to all problems. No man, no problem.

Baille 9 years, 10 months ago

O him who in the love of Nature holdsCommunion with her visible forms, she speaksA various language; for his gayer hoursShe has a voice of gladness, and a smileAnd eloquence of beauty, and she glidesInto his darker musings, with a mildAnd healing sympathy, that steals awayTheir sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughtsOf the last bitter hour come like a blightOver thy spirit, and sad imagesOf the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,Make thee to shudder and grow sick at heart;--Go forth, under the open sky, and listTo Nature's teachings, while from all around--Earth and her waters, and the depths of air--Comes a still voice--Yet a few days, and theeThe all-beholding sun shall see no moreIn all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,Where thy pale form was laid with many tears,Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall existThy image. Earth, that nourish'd thee, shall claimThy growth, to be resolved to earth again,And, lost each human trace, surrendering upThine individual being, shalt thou goTo mix for ever with the elements,To be a brother to the insensible rock,And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swainTurns with his share, and treads upon. The oakShall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

LJWorld editors:thanks for addressing this story, it is only a first step. yes, I'm returning this thread to the topic*. the police do of course track events like these, because they have the primary job of solving crimes, bringing to justice perps. it may seem pedantic, but they're not really the best to ask about such a series of tragedies. not to diminish the Police, at all. LJWorld: please contact specialists in Public Health (KU has some!). contact clinical psychologists who research these tragedies. questions are being assessed about variables that could contribute to a local spate of such tragedies. 'hopelessness' can contribute to these events. please, LJWorld, follow up on this article. because, if we are to address what's going on, we need appropriate information. this current article just scratches the surface.thanks KSdiva, you're absolutely right.
and, Steph, you were a very naughty girl! now, stop that! too many tragedies! lets just hope we got all of our summer's events out all in one lump! and, please lets look out for each other.

ksdivakat 9 years, 10 months ago

You are so off smitty it isnt funny, but im not going to let you drag me into another issue on this thread, I will deal with that comment at another time. Paul Taylor is the chaplain, please dont talk about people if they are not here to defend themselves, especially when those people are good and kind people and people like you just like to start drama on every thread!

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 10 months ago

"When you're standing at the crossroads that you cannot comprehendJust remember that death is not the endAnd all your dreams have vanished and you don't know what's up the bendJust remember that death is not the endNot the end, not the endJust remember that death is not the end"-Dylan

acg 9 years, 10 months ago

Wow, when you stack it all up like that this summer has been very tragic, indeed. What a shame to lose so much valuable life.

Kontum1972 9 years, 10 months ago

its going to get worse....we are on the downward spiral....people run redlights and stop signs...go spend sometime up on kasold....anywhere from 6th street, 15th street..and down to 23rd.i feel sorry for the victims family's....

fu7il3 9 years, 10 months ago

Smitty, no one thinks there is a problem with the police except for you, Yellow House, and a few others. All those high-profile cases that were listed, they made arrests on. Personally, I am happy with how the police in this town have handled everything.I think that the general apathy of humanity that you see on these discussion boards are indicative of a problem with society that is resulting in these cases in the first place. There is a general lack of consideration for other people's lives and the effect we have on them.

Buggie7 9 years, 10 months ago

I have to tell you Im glad that ljworld is not keeping up with the yh issue. Waste of their ink and any tax dollars spend and Im just tired of hearing all their babble

Deja Coffin 9 years, 10 months ago

I think the higher number of deaths can be contributed to the fact that more people are buying mopeds and motorcycles as a means of travel and the fact that more homocides happen in the summer months then the other months possibly because the heat makes people more aggressive. My advice stay cool and watch for bikes!!!

igby 9 years, 10 months ago

You forgot the plane crash. Planes, Trains and automobiles but now mopeds and bicycles. I would think this the plane crash was even though in Leavenworth County, was also near Lawrence. Whats next?Boats?Coats?Goats?ropes?Totes?and a garbage truck?lol.

countrygirl 9 years, 10 months ago

LJW--can posts be removed for trying to highjack the topic? This yellow house thing on every thread gets old.

TheEleventhStephanie 9 years, 10 months ago

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

Kookamooka 9 years, 10 months ago

Never mind. It was the robbery in East Lawrence.

dweezil222 9 years, 10 months ago

I have no proof that will stand up in a court but I did go to commissioner Mike Amyx and ask about the rumor before I did any posting on the allegations.I asked Aymx if there was substance to the rumor that Olin and some of his staff were under investigation or indictment from a high legal authority outside of Lawrence. He hemmed and hawed through three different versions of the same questions until he stated, "IT" is being handled as a personnel issue through the city manager's office.I've answered your question before. Thisis all I can give you. However I have asked for the citizens of Lawrence to contact their commissioners to clarify their concerns and voice their thoughts on making a settle with Olin before the indictment is issued and information made public.I do not understand the complications that have kept the JW from reporting the updates on the YH's court dates and the non-progress of the charges. If I can solicit an answer from the city commission, then anyone, including the local reporters can also do the same. But a local reporter did state it isn't that simple. They didn't make it clear whether it was the city not answering the questions or the politics of the local paper or some other reason.Time will tell.========================Correct me if I'm wrong, but:1) Criminal charges/related info, once the charges have been filed, are a matter of public record;2) Any kind of investigation into a public official should be covered by FOIA or the state equivalent.If anything was going down, LJW would have access to the information. While I've seen quite a few snafus with this publication, I seriously doubt that every single member of their staff is so inept they couldn't do a little investigative reporting. At the very least, if it was that big a deal, one would expect the KC Star, which certainly is competent, to have picked up on the story.

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 10 months ago

Alright. Cut n' paste Thanatopsis day. It's about as relevant to this thread as smitty's fabrications, I suppose.Hate the fireside poets. I take that back. It's relevant in that it's a meditation on death. I just don't see any deeper parallels than that. But hey, a little poetry is good for the brain.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

I want to add, right on topic, what if our community decided to devote enough resources so that LMH had a mental health ward? What if the suicide response were improved in our community? besides the tragedies listed, there have been more than four serious suicide attempts in our community in the past two months.2% for art? no! 2% for saving lives.

igby 9 years, 10 months ago

.....or is it the pothole problem that causes everyone to feel that the world is closing in on them. Potholes causes stress !

dweezil222 9 years, 10 months ago

Jeez... we get rid of Last Call and people are still dying... wasn't that supposed to be the solution to all of Lawrence's problems? Or was it getting rid of Joe College that was supposed to do it?Maybe Dennis Steffes and Larry Sinks can get together and commiserate.In all seriousness, though, what a sad summer.

ksdivakat 9 years, 10 months ago

Smitty, I keep seeing you and yellowhouse blogging about this supposed federal investigation into LPD, and ive asked several times but never get an answer, can you prove that? provide a link other than what YH has written online to prove this theory?? Just curious?

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 10 months ago

timetospeakup--Right on. Overall, there's been no alarming increase in the overall crime rate, death by accident rate, etc. Because a number of these things have happened in a short period, it is natural that many people will perceive these events as indicative of a larger pattern. A responsible newspaper would make this point in any article dealing with this "pattern". A typical newspaper would print an alarmist article and as a sop to respectability would bury a single sentence in the middle of the article. In other news, somewhere in Topeka, someone apparently figured out how to disable the parental controls on mommy's computer....

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 10 months ago

The last comment would have made more sense if the LJW hadn't immediately removed all of that kid's posts.

uwish1020 9 years, 10 months ago

ya know i just feel that there seems to be no appreciation for those that have lost their lives within the past few articles and blogging. This article seemed to show some sort of sorrow and sadness for those that have died within the last two months, but i dont feel like anyone understands the magnitude of death lately. It makes me so uncomfortably sick that people have the nerve to write such entries like the police should have had the street open faster than what they did after the crash that killed the motorcyclist. Im sorry, no wait im NOT sorry. You people live in Lawrence and you know PLENTY of other routes to take to get to your destination. GROW UP a man DIED. Do you understand that? I seriously wonder if you would like to be that poor man looking down from heaven asking why in the hell are these people bitching about the intersection when i just lost my life. You all should be ashamed. Now i seem to be preaching to the choir because you all have felt deeply about those that have perished these last two months, but im disgusted by the way some bloggers have chose to voice their opinion about such minor details when death is involved. I promise that not a damn one of them would bitch about an intersection had your loved one just died there. I feel so deeply for each family that has lost someone special to death, and i feel even more horrible for the fact that they have to get on the journal world and read stupid comments that attempt to make their loved ones life so unimportant by the mere statements of an intersection. And on the matter of a federal investigation of the LPD, how dare any of you bring up such statements against those that are working hard for your city. These men and women are out daily protecting you people and yet you repay them by making rude and judging comments in order to cast doubt on their hard work. We all should be saying thank you that they have worked so hard to solve each and every case, and i hope you all realize that one day you'll need them and you will have to stand at the mercy of an officer for which you so willingly said such horrible things about.

ksmax 9 years, 10 months ago

This has been a very tragic summer. I know four of the people that have died. I feel for all of the families that have been affected by all of this loss. So Sad!

Deja Coffin 9 years, 10 months ago

You know the only people that take the time to read those annoyingly long posts are the other people that make the same darn posts. Thank goodness I can scroll down and read posts that actually are about the topic at hand.

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