Overland Park man arrested in shooting incident near KU campus

Two students transported to LMH; third nicked by a bullet

Lawrence police officers gather evidence outside The Hawk, a popular student bar located near the KU campus, after three people were shot, injuring two.

A 22-year-old Overland Park man was arrested in connection with a triple shooting just before 2 a.m. Thursday near the Kansas University campus, Lawrence police said.

Joseph Abdullah Muhammad was charged with three counts of aggravated battery and will make his first appearance in court today, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said.

Two college students were shot and another was grazed by a bullet while standing near 14th and Ohio streets.

Surveillance video shows a dark-colored passenger vehicle paused at the intersection, where the suspect leaned out of the passenger window and fired multiple shots at a group of people standing near the intersection, police said. Lawrence Police Sgt. Susan Hadl said the shooter used a handgun to fire at the crowd.

A 22-year-old KU student and a 21-year-old University of Chicago student, who was visiting Lawrence, each received two gunshot wounds and were transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, police said.

The KU student was shot in the right shin and left forearm, and the Chicago student was shot in the left ankle and right calf, Lawrence Police Sgt. Bill Cory said.

A hospital spokesman said both men were treated and released.

A 19-year-old KU student’s shoulder was grazed by a bullet in the incident, Cory said. He was not transported to the hospital.

Police are working to determine whether the shooting was random or if the victims were the intended targets, Cory said.

“It’s an unfortunate incident,” Cory said. “These things have happened in the past in Lawrence; they do happen. … You just need to be aware.”

Jim Carr, a KU senior, said he was doing homework at his house in the 400 block of West 14th Street, about 100 feet from where the shooting happened.

“I heard two gunshots, then a bunch more,” he said. “Maybe eight, but I don’t know. Maybe five.”

Just two minutes later, he said he heard “sirens, lots of sirens.”

Jorge Pizarro, a Lawrence resident, said he was a mere 75 feet away with friends at a nearby bar. He said he heard at least three shots, which he described as sounding like firecrackers or a BB gun.

“It didn’t sound like gunshots at all,” he said. “We didn’t think it was anything serious at first. Then we come out to find this.”

Marlesa Roney, KU’s vice provost for student success, issued a statement Thursday morning saying the university community was alarmed by a shooting so close to campus and several KU scholarship halls, but relieved there were no serious injuries.

“Although Lawrence is overall a safe environment, this incident reminds us of the need to always be aware of our surroundings and take precautions when necessary,” she said. “We also expect anyone with information to cooperate fully with police.”

The driver of the car hasn’t been located, Cory said.

Hadl urged anybody with information to contact Lawrence police at 785-830-7430 or Douglas County dispatchers at 785-832-7509. Callers who wish to remain anonymous are asked to call Crime Stoppers, 785-843-TIPS.