Archive for Friday, March 27, 2009

Suspect in shooting outside the Hawk has lengthy criminal record

The 22-year-old Overland Park man accused of shooting three students Thursday morning has a lengthy criminal history.

March 27, 2009


Security camera records incident

A security camera at the corner of 14th and Ohio streets recorded the shooting incident outside The Hawk early Thursday morning. The vehicle in question enters the left side of the video at the :35 second mark. After 1:20, the front-seat passenger appears to fire a gun at the crowd. Enlarge video

The 22-year-old Overland Park man accused of firing a gun into a crowd of people outside a bar near the Kansas University campus has a history of threatening people with a weapon.

Joseph A. Muhammad, who was arrested Thursday by Lawrence police, was on probation at the time of the triple shooting after being convicted of a similar incident at a 2007 New Year’s Eve party in Olathe.

A Johnson County prosecutor said Muhammad was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault and, as part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped three other counts of aggravated assault he was facing.

There was already a motion pending to revoke Muhammad’s probation, Johnson County court records show.

Now he faces additional charges in Douglas County. During Muhammad’s first appearance Friday afternoon in Douglas County District Court, he was charged with three counts of aggravated battery.

The charges stem from a shooting just before 2 a.m. Thursday near 14th and Ohio streets.

Surveillance video obtained by 6News and the Lawrence Journal-World, 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.

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, where they were treated and released.

Police said a 19-year-old KU student was also grazed by a bullet in the incident.

During Friday’s court hearing, prosecutors called Muhammad a flight risk and a danger to the public. They told the judge that in addition to the conviction in Johnson County, Muhammad also has previous convictions for having an open container and possessing drug paraphernalia. He also has a pending DUI case in Douglas County.

The judge kept his bond at $250,000 and ordered Muhammad to appear in court Wednesday with his attorney.


Steve Jacob 8 years, 2 months ago

How many chances do you get? I get the feeling his time is up, and a couple of years away is best for all.

rgh 8 years, 2 months ago

He'll be out on another plea and within 5 years, he'll murder someone. We already have enough people being released because of the economy regardless of whether they'll hurt someone again or not. Justice?

bigdave 8 years, 2 months ago

20 years cost to much for this scum!! Take him out back and shoot him in the head!! 19-25 cents tops

Jim Phillips 8 years, 2 months ago

Where are the Fedeal charges for convicted felon in possession of a handgun?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 2 months ago

The issue of the cop not chasing needs to be looked at.

jonas_opines 8 years, 2 months ago

LPD: Damned if you chase, damned if you don't.

alm77 8 years, 2 months ago

"The issue of the cop not chasing needs to be looked at." Why? They caught the guy. By not chasing they possibly saved more lives. There were tons of witnesses and we don't even know how they caught the guy, but what they did worked.

I say "Great job, LPD!"

Devon Kissinger 8 years, 2 months ago

I dunno Bigdave, seen the price of ammo lately?

HermioneElliott 8 years, 2 months ago

Are some of you being vicious because the guy is black?

BlackVelvet 8 years, 2 months ago

LarryNative, you know this (about the unseen LPD car) how?

50YearResident 8 years, 2 months ago

It could have been much worse, he could have used a car bomb instead of a gun in front of the Hawk.

RoeDapple 8 years, 2 months ago

Once again Hermi/Cleo tries to put words in the mouths of posters and make race the issue. Are you the racist Hermi/Cleo? Really looks like it from here.....

tin 8 years, 2 months ago

Send him to gitmo.

No wait if we did he would be released soon with the other terrorist that will soon be walking our streets.

HermioneElliott 8 years, 2 months ago

I asked an honest question because I really wanted to know. I don't think he deserves to be shot as he did not commit a crime that would call for the death penalty. I have a daughter who is half-black. No racist me. I think people who are given chances are truly sorry when they get caught, because they are afraid, but they get over that, and do it again because deep down they know they will be forgiven. Again. I was appalled by the amount of hate that seems to me to be out of proportion to the crime.

RoeDapple 8 years, 2 months ago

Hermi, not going to argue with you on this. Speaking for myself, my anger would be the same for this type of crime regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual preference of anyone involved, shooter or victims. No one deserves to die because of this, but obviously the shooter cared nothing about that little fact. Even on the slim chance he is sorry now, best guess is he is sorry he got caught. If the identity and priors quoted earlier are indeed fact, how many chances does he deserve? Not laying that on you, just wondering why the court system continues to turn habitual offenders loose. Acceptable risk? That's not a very good sell to victims or their families. If your daughter or one of my daughters were in that crowd we could be in a much different set of circumstances. Somebodies sons and daughters were there. Whatever anger I have is for what he has put them through. I breath a sigh of relief that nothing has ever happened to my adult children like this. And I hope your daughter always remains safe, I truly do. Nobody wants to outlive their children, nobody.......

bearded_gnome 8 years, 2 months ago

no mention in this article of the getaway driver. that guy should do some serious time too, and I don't care what his genetic heritage is.

cleo/hermione you are an idiot. just as easily this pond scum could have killed three instead of wounding three. that's not due to some humanitarian urge in his actions.

also, being black, he doesn't deserve special rights or protections under the law. we have a black president and the mainstream media is afraid to question him, when he makes highly questionable decisions.

Joe Mo committed serious crimes. personally I think three of Ag Bat is under charging and I hope the DA ads a few more charges.

and indeed where's the federal charge for him being felon in possession of a gun?

shame on you Cleo, shame on you.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 2 months ago

This is one of those crimes where I have second thoughts about the death penalty. This one makes me believe in hanging people again.

I can think of no more cowardly act than firing a gun out of a car into a crowd.

At least life in prison.

We used to hang horse thieves. Maybe we have gotten too soft on crime.

lionheart72661 8 years, 2 months ago

If you watch the video the scum bag had this planned so it was all premeditaded. So Ag Bat should be upped to Att.Murder. Now for the felon in possesion of a firearm that is a flat 5 years with no chance for parole and as for the early release let me tell you what a prison guard told me. They release the offenders that are trouble makers in prison because they know they will be back thus bringing in more money to the prison whie the inmates that do their time without incident do their full term because they truly will not be back so the state gets what they can out of that inmate (MONEY) from the state. I know this sounds hokie and some will disagree but believe me that is a very real and true statement.

Harpo 8 years, 2 months ago

LarryNative said…

"What the video did not show was the there was a Lawrence Police Officer in a car two back from the stop sign. The coward did not chase the shooters. He claimed he could not get the two cars in front of him to move. Try turning on your lights and sirens next time chicken sh*t. All LPD is trained to do is card minors in bars and nothing else."

Wrong Larry. The unedited surveillance video that the JW posted with the original article on this story shows the police car beginning pusuit of the vehicle within seconds after the shots were fired. I have no idea how long the pursuit lasted, but to call the cop a coward is completely bogus.

Kristine Bailey 8 years, 2 months ago

The word on the street from college students, is that he was firing into the ground when the driver took off causing his arm to raise. I was wondering why he shot everybody in the ankles. Also he was kicked out of the Martini Room at the Hawk prior to the incident.

lionheart72661 8 years, 2 months ago

Rancho says:The word on the street from college students, is that he was firing into the ground when the driver took off causing his arm to raise. I was wondering why he shot everybody in the ankles. Also he was kicked out of the Martini Room at the Hawk prior to the incident.

If you are in a moving car when it takes off you and your arm will go backwards not up. when you fire a handgun the recoil will force the gun and arm upwards. and regardless of whether or not he was shooting towards the ground the points are 1) he is a convicted felon in possesion of a firearm; 2) shooting towards the ground WILL cause a bullet to ricochet upwards towards vital organs; 3) He had no business discharging a firearm in the first place. So make excuses all you want for this idiot because that's all he is. Not only that he's a coward. Anyone that hides behind a gun for the purpose of scaring or causing harm to others is a coward. Do like they did in my day you so called gangsters meet face to face hand to hand.

flyin_squirrel 8 years, 2 months ago


Wrong. From what some hawk employees told me, he was denied entry into the entire bar around midnight, never entered.

EdenPrairie87 8 years, 2 months ago

I just watched the unedited video of the surveillance camera and the cop that heads west on 14th is not Lawrence PD but a KU Cop.

BlackVelvet 8 years, 2 months ago


what is the significance, if any, of your claim it's a KU cop and not a LPD cop? What difference would it make?

BlackVelvet 8 years, 2 months ago

and I too just watched the unedited video, and whether it makes any difference or not, it's clearly an LPD patrol vehicle, not a KU PD car

Judgesmails 8 years, 1 month ago

This genius watched too many rap videos.


ralphralph 8 years, 1 month ago

So, who's the guy who walked up to the car when it pulled up, and what was happening between them ... shooting the breeze, or arguing, or what? Also, there obviously is a driver in the car, and no mention or him or her ... why not?

webmocker 8 years, 1 month ago

HermioneElliott (Anonymous) says…

“I was appalled by the amount of hate that seems to me to be out of proportion to the crime.”

I don't know. People tend to get upset when they see that just hanging out on the street may get you shot. And when they find out that the shooter (yeah, yeah, "alleged" shooter) has done this kind of thing before, they tend to feel that said shooter is probably not worthy of third and fourth chances. And when they see violent criminals being given relatively short sentences while the prisons are half full of long time inmates doing time for drug offenses without violence, they get a little irrational, and maybe express a bit more anger or hate than is precisely proportional to the crime at hand. But still, I'd argue that shooting into a crowd of people should get you put away for a very, very long time. And at least for this poster, the race of the shooter is irrelevant. It's the actions, not the face, that one finds reprehensible.

BlackVelvet 8 years, 1 month ago

the fact that the suspect took deliberate aim would suggest it was a DELIBERATE act and therefore, worthy of much more severe charges than aggravated battery. He intended to hurt people bad! likely intended to KILL.....he should be charged accordingly.

bigboy77 8 years, 1 month ago

Joseph Muhammad you are now a two time felon with a gun,3 counts aggravated battery that Lawrence D.A office is charging. How lucky you are not charged with a felon firing a firearm in city limits and felon with a gun. If you get the same Asst. D.A Mike Allen. No wonder it sounds like same charges like Damien Garrett. Whom is a 2 time felon with 3 aggravated assault and he is not charged with a felon firing a firearm in city limits plus robbery of 600.00 dollars and felon with a gun. Only different is Damein Garrett threaten someone life and fired a gun 1/2 block from Pinckney elementary school while kids where playing at recess. People call Lawrence D.A. office and complain to head D.A. Charles Branson and ask why these cases are not handed over to federal. P.S . I think they are covering up for Damien because he is a snitch!

youhavenoidea 8 years ago

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