Suspect sought after North Lawrence standoff had warrant for probation violation

Lawrence police officers block off the area near a trailer court in the 100 block of Maple Street, in North Lawrence, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.

The man Lawrence police are seeking after a six-hour police standoff Wednesday in Lawrence had a warrant for his arrest issued just last week.

John R. Berry, 27, has been on supervised release since March, after being convicted and sentenced for making a criminal threat, a felony, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records.

Alleging he violated his probation, Douglas County authorities issued a warrant for Berry’s arrest on Aug. 24, according to Douglas County District Court records.

Berry also has a 2012 conviction for criminal threat, in Jefferson County, according to the Department of Corrections.

Police said Berry was suspected of committing aggravated assault on Wednesday. The reported incident led to the standoff, at the end of which police discovered Berry was gone.

John Robert Berry

Police urge anyone with information on Berry’s whereabouts to call the Lawrence Police Department at 832-7509 or Crime Stoppers at 843-TIPS (8477).

He had not been captured as of Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday’s situation began about 3 p.m., when police responded to a reported disturbance with weapons at a trailer in the 100 block of Maple Street.

Initial information indicated a man was barricaded inside the residence with a gun. During a verbal argument in the trailer, the man reportedly threatened to harm another person inside, then threatened to harm himself, Lawrence Police Sgt. Amy Rhoads said Thursday.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and to avoid escalating the incident,” police set up a perimeter around the trailer and began trying to contact the man, according to a police news release Wednesday night.

Officers cordoned off the area — including a portion of the levee trail just west of North Second Street — and evacuated the trailer court. More than a dozen police vehicles, officers in tactical gear and police negotiators responded.

Police did reach the man via phone after several hours, but he would not tell them where he was.

About 8:30 p.m., police sent an investigative robot into the trailer and determined the suspect wasn’t there.

Rhoads said Thursday police weren’t yet sure whether the man left before officers arrived, or sometime after without being detected.

In such a situation, officers don’t encircle a home up close. They are stationed a “safe distance” from the residence, Rhoads said.

In addition to the suspect, two other people were reportedly in the trailer when the incident began.

One was a man who was physically unable to leave because of health issues, Rhoads said.

The other was a woman who was experiencing a medical condition, and got out shortly after 3 p.m.

Rhoads said officers entered the trailer “strategically” and carried her out, where she was checked by paramedics on the scene.

Neither person was injured in the incident, Rhoads said.

Police did arrest one man at the scene who tried to breach the police line. Rhoads said he’s believed to be an acquaintance of the suspect but that it wasn’t clear what he was trying to do.