Police search for suspect on KU campus following car chase; man still at large

Story last updated at 2:15 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12

State and local law enforcement units searched for a suspect on the University of Kansas campus Friday morning following a car chase, but by Friday afternoon the search had ended and the man was still at large.

Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Dennis Shoemaker said the agency began its pursuit of the suspect after he allegedly stole a car in El Dorado. The suspect allegedly abandoned the car in Osage County and stole another car, and troopers later resumed the pursuit in southern Douglas County.

The suspect then allegedly abandoned the second car on campus, Shoemaker said. The Highway Patrol ended its police pursuit of the suspect before Lawrence’s southern city limits because the rainy weather conditions could cause a safety concern for the public, he said.

“With the conditions as they are, we backed off big time and slowed way down,” he said. “We didn’t want to cause any kind of an accident.”

The agency found the car the suspect stole abandoned on campus, and a search for the suspect ensued. Shoemaker said he did not know where the car was abandoned on campus but said it was “behind one of the buildings.” An email that the university sent to students and staff said a stolen car was abandoned behind Marvin Hall.

Marvin Hall

As of Friday morning, Shoemaker said the police did not know who the suspect was.

“There is no known violence associated with this guy,” he said. “The vehicles he’s taken had the keys in the cars.”

According to emergency radio traffic, Lawrence police and KU police were also involved in the search on campus, which began shortly after 9:30 a.m.

The KU Public Safety Office sent an email alert to students and staff at 10:22. The email described the suspect as a white man in his 30s, with bushy eyebrows, a goatee beard and slender build, standing about 5-foot-10. KU police said there was “no immediate threat to campus” but asked anyone with information to call 911 or the Public Safety Office at 785-864-5900.

The alerts page on the university’s website did not contain any information about the law enforcement activity for at least an hour after the incident began, though the page was updated later in the day with information from the email posted with a backdated timestamp. A 12:40 p.m. update on the page said that the suspect was not found and police were “no longer actively searching” campus.

As of 2 p.m., Shoemaker said the Kansas Highway Patrol had also stopped actively searching for the suspect on campus, but he said that the KHP’s regular patrol in the Lawrence area was aware of the incident. The suspect is still at large, he said.

— Journal-World reporter Dylan Lysen contributed to this report.


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