Affidavit details armed standoff with police, allegations of gunshots, threats, animal abuse

photo by: Nick Krug

Armored members of the Lawrence Police Department respond to a standoff in the 2500 block of Scottsdale Street, Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

When Michael Kewley surrendered himself to officers, police say they found several loose rounds of .45-caliber ammunition in his pocket.

Across the street, Kewley’s neighbor found another bullet on his kitchen floor and several bullet holes in his home.

Lawrence police officers were familiar with Kewley, according to a recently released arrest affidavit. They were aware that he is a veteran who reportedly served time in special forces and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, night terrors and blackouts.

The affidavit — a document that explains the reasons for an arrest — offers new details in the case of an armed standoff between police and Kewley that lasted several hours on Lawrence’s southwest side and resulted in a number of felony charges. Allegations in an affidavit still must be proved in a court of law.

Currently Kewley is being held in the Douglas County Jail on a $50,000 bond and is awaiting a hearing later this month.

Kewley served multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, said one person who asked not to be named but said she lived with him. The woman also said Kewley is under care of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and recently experienced the deaths of two close friends, which caused him to become suicidal, the Journal-World previously reported.

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Michael L. Kewley

And if officers weren’t aware before, they were told on April 4 of Kewley’s distrust of law enforcement, the affidavit says.

That morning, around 7:15 a.m. officers were dispatched to Kewley’s home at 2525 Scottsdale St. to check on Kewley, who was reportedly threatening to commit suicide.

One woman who met Kewley on a dating website called police, the affidavit says. She told them she woke up that morning to a text message from Kewley that said “I’m sorry dear I’m gonna have to do something very dumb and regretful. And please leave poppy flowers at my grave at Arlington.”

That same morning, an officer was sent to the home across the street from Kewley’s, the affidavit said. There, one man said he awoke around 3:15 a.m. to the sound of a gunshot. Looking outside after hearing the noise, the man said he saw a motion sensor light was on at Kewley’s home.

The man told police he was familiar with guns and “was certain he had a bullet hole in the front of his house,” as well as “what he believed to be a pistol round on the floor of his kitchen,” the affidavit says.

Considering the situation, officers contacted one of Kewley’s ex-girlfriends, who arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, the affidavit says. The night before she told police she found Kewley drinking alcohol in his garage and called his probation officer.

Kewley was on probation from a 2015 criminal restraint conviction. That same year criminal threat, criminal restraint and cruelty to animals charges were filed against him, though he was granted a diversion in that case.

Around 9:15 a.m. the woman who originally called police, called again, saying she was on her way and told officers Kewley said he “would have a gun and knives on him ‘for protection from the police,'” the affidavit says.

In addition she warned police the home’s front door might be rigged with explosives. She described police as a “trigger” subject for Kewley because he “believes the police are against him.”

Soon police spoke with Kewley over the phone and asked him to come outside, the affidavit says.

As police spoke with Kewley he left the home several times, wearing a ballistic vest and appearing to “assess the location and position of police personnel surrounding his residence,” the affidavit says.

That day police said they were concerned Kewley was armed with a “long gun.” Dozens of officers responded to the scene, some in their personal vehicles, some in marked cars.

Ultimately, no “long gun” was found in the home.

Several streets in the area were blocked off as more and more officers arrived on the scene. One area resident who lives nearby said she heard around seven gunshots fired the night before.

Officers patrolled the neighborhood with rifles and both Sunflower Elementary and Southwest Middle schools were placed on lockdown.

Officers told Kewley to raise his hands and walk toward them multiple times, but he would not, the affidavit says. At one point Kewley threw a propane tank out his front door, which officers believed was either an explosive device or something he might shoot to cause an explosion.

Later, Kewley removed his ballistic vest, though he was concealing a knife behind his back and challenging officers to come to him, the affidavit says.

Refusing to drop the knife, Kewley “retreated into the house and said, “I guess we’ll just have a gun fight,” the affidavit says.

Around 2:43 p.m., Kewley surrendered to officers and was arrested without further incident, the affidavit says.

Searching his home, officers found one handgun, a ballistic vest with a large kitchen knife inside a pouch and a number of magazines loaded with dozens of handgun and rifle rounds, the affidavit says. Officers found one dog inside the home and a dead dog inside a recycling bin outside the garage with “a leash secured tightly around its neck.”

One of Kewley’s male roommates later told police the dead dog was Kewley’s and it had been alive the night before, the affidavit says. A second male roommate said Kewley fired a number of gunshots that night.

This spring, that second roommate told police, Kewley had started doing drugs, behaving aggressively and speaking about his time in the Army, the affidavit says.

He said he originally woke up to a single gunshot and asked Kewley, who was drinking whiskey, to “knock it off,” the affidavit says. Kewley apologized and the second roommate went back to bed, only to wake up once more to the sounds of a dog “yelping real bad.”

Again, that roommate said he approached Kewley, who spoke of killing one of his two dogs, the affidavit says. The second conversation took place around 2:30 a.m. and Kewley was reportedly acting paranoid at the time.

That roommate told police he stayed with Kewley, who fired his handgun a number of times throughout the rest of the morning, the affidavit says. Eventually, after one gunshot, the electricity in the garage, where they were, went out.

“(The roommate) assumed a bullet hit electrical wiring in the wall,” the affidavit says.

When asked why he didn’t call police, that roommate said when he left for work that morning Kewley was “passed out ‘face down’ on the kitchen table,” and he “hoped Kewley would sleep it off, and be himself by the time he returned home from work,” the affidavit says. He added that he planned on contacting police at some point because Kewley “needs help.”

Previously that roommate had told police he saw Kewley abusing dogs, the affidavit says. Once he reportedly strung a dog up by the neck over a cross bar and a second time he hung a dog by a heavy bag stand, according to the affidavit, though Kewley maintained he was just training the dogs.

Several days after the standoff, another neighborhood resident called police after finding a bullet hole in his home, the affidavit says.

Kewley is scheduled to appear in court on May 31 for a preliminary hearing, where he and his attorney, Adam Hall, will have a chance to respond to the allegations. During that hearing a judge will determine if enough evidence exists to order Kewley to stand trial.

Alongside charges stemming from the standoff, Kewley is accused of violating his probation, and his diversion agreement from his second case in 2015 has been revoked.