At about 10:30 p.m. on the preceding night, police had received reports of shooting in the 900 block of New York. Approaching officers were fired upon, and after following a car leaving the scene, officers engaged in an exchange of gunfire that left a 19-year-old black man dead. It was the first fatal shooting by a Lawrence police officer since 1966. As news of the event spread through the community, sniping and firebombing incidents broke out in east Lawrence, and at least two other persons were injured. The impact on the community was still developing. Rumors were being circulated regarding the incident, and at least one city official expressed the hope that citizens would remain at home on the following night to prevent further violence.
A new University Information Service began operations on this date at KU. Callers dialing UN4-3506 would reach someone 24 hours a day, and information would be provided on community events such as last night’s shooting. The service would function as a rumor control center. Phones were being staffed by volunteers.