Funerals set for two young Topeka men killed in downtown Lawrence shootings

A group of candles is placed on a wall at the northwest corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets in Lawrence, pictured Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. The intersection was the site of a shooting that killed three people and wounded two others early the previous morning.

Funerals are planned next week for two Topeka men who were fatally shot this weekend in Lawrence.

Colwin Lynn Henderson III, 20, and Tre’Mel Dupree Dean, 24, are two of three people who died near the intersection of 11th and Massachusetts streets, after a night out downtown. Also killed was Leah Elizabeth Brown, 22, of Shawnee.

Two other Topeka men, ages 19 and 28, received nonlife-threatening injuries from the gunfire.

Henderson was a new dad, to a 10-month-old baby girl, his brother Jordan Henderson said. Because his own father wasn’t around much he wanted to do better for his daughter, his brother said, and he was taking to the role.

“Colwin really, really, really enjoyed it,” Jordan Henderson said. “He wanted to be a father for her.”

Colwin Lynn Henderson

Colwin Henderson’s girlfriend, Destiny Jackson of Topeka, said their daughter’s first word was “Dada.”

“He gave me the greatest gift I could ever ask for, our daughter, who he adored and loved so deeply,” Jackson told the Journal-World Sunday, in a Facebook message. “…My promise to him is to make him proud and always remind our daughter of him how much he loved her.”

Jordan Henderson, 18, said since childhood he’d always looked up to his older brother, who helped teach him to skate, encouraged him in his pursuit of football and still looked like his “twin.”

When he heard his brother may have been hurt in the shooting, Jordan Henderson drove in the middle of the night from Coffeyville Community College to Lawrence.

“The last time I talked to him was before I left for college, and I told him I loved him,” Jordan Henderson said, in a Facebook live video this week. “That was Aug. 12, so that’s kind of, like, killing me right now.”

Visitation for Colwin Henderson will be 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel, 401 SW Harrison St. in Topeka, according to the funeral home. A celebration of life is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday at Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, 610 SE Lime St. in Topeka.

Relatives are planning a candlelight vigil for Henderson at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Quinton Heights Hill in Topeka, his brother said.

A fundraiser to help Henderson’s family with funeral and other expenses is online at

Dean, the second oldest of five children, was funny and easygoing, an older brother told The Kansas City Star. Dean had wanted to leave Topeka and move to California, where he didn’t have firm plans besides connecting with a girlfriend there and just doing something different.

“He was living his life and trying to find his way,” T’Juan Dean, of Topeka, told The Star.

The Journal-World was unable to reach relatives of Tre’Mel Dean this week.

Dean’s visitation is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, with a celebration of life to follow at 11 a.m., at Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel, according to the funeral home.

About 1:40 a.m. Sunday, Lawrence police officers in the area heard more than 20 gunshots and responded to the intersection, where they found three people fatally wounded and two others hit. Police say they believe a physical altercation at the northwest corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets led to the gunfire.

Both Henderson and Dean had attended an event Saturday night at the Granada, 1020 Massachusetts St., relatives told The Star.

Afterward, Dean and some relatives who attended the event with him were on the street when a fistfight began, then the gunfire, T’Juan Dean told The Star. He said his brother Tre’Mel Dean was not involved in the fight but was an innocent victim, and that one of the two people wounded was a cousin.

Jordan Henderson said he did not know Dean or whether his brother did. Jordan Henderson said he heard there “was violence going on between a few of my family members and somebody else,” and that his brother Colwin Henderson — whom he described as protective — was trying to break it up and got caught in the crossfire.

“He’s a protector, not a hunter,” Jordan Henderson said of his brother, in the Facebook video. “He doesn’t want to hurt nobody.”

Leah Brown

Brown had just left a nearby bar with a friend when they saw a fight happening nearby, then Brown was struck by gunfire, according to media reports.

Brown’s visitation is planned from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Queen of the Holy Rosary, 7023 W. 71st St. in Overland Park. Funeral Mass is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at the church. A fundraiser for her family is online at

Lawrence police continue to work leads in the shootings but have released no information about a possible suspect or suspects.

“Detectives and officers are continuing to investigate the incident and are reviewing new leads as they come in,” Sgt. Amy Rhoads said Wednesday. “We continue to ask the public to contact us if they witnessed the incident or have any information regarding the shooting.”

Anyone with information about the incident can call Lawrence police at 832-7509 or, to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County at 843-TIPS (8477).