Lawrence police arrested two 19-year-old Topeka men Thursday morning an hour after a Kansas University student was pistol-whipped and a gun discharged in a robbery at The Reserve apartment complex, 2511 W. 31st Street.
Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence police spokesman, said police were called at 11:50 p.m. to the apartment complex.
Police gave this account of the incident:
Three KU students reported they were sitting in a sport-utility vehicle in a parking lot Wednesday night, and another student was standing outside the vehicle, when two men approached them and demanded marijuana.
“When the occupants in the SUV said they didn’t have any marijuana, the suspects demanded their cell phones and cash,” McKinley said. “One of the suspects circled around the car and went to the driver’s side where he pointed a pistol at the person sitting in the driver’s seat and threatened to shoot him if the others didn’t give up their money and property.”
A struggle ensued between the armed suspect and the male student standing outside the SUV. The suspect punched the victim. Then the suspect struck the victim on top of his head with the pistol. The pistol also fired into the ground.
The suspects took the victim’s keys and fled in a vehicle.
Medics treated the robbery victim, but he declined to be taken to the hospital, McKinley said.
About 12:35 a.m. Thursday, police received a report of vehicle burglaries in the 1000 block of Vermont Street.
“Witnesses reported seeing two individuals, who matched the description of the suspects involved in the incident at The Reserve, checking several vehicles parked in the city parking lot,” McKinley said. “They advised the subjects made entry to one vehicle prior to officers arriving.”
Police recovered a handgun, holster and keys to the robbery victim’s vehicle.
Officers arrested the two suspects on charges of auto burglary and possession of marijuana, and after an investigation they connected the two men to the robbery outside the apartment complex, the sergeant said. One of the suspects, Sterling James Wilkins, was also detained on outstanding Shawnee County warrants, McKinley said.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said prosecutors would likely make a decision about filing formal charges Friday.