Neighbors describe aftermath of double shooting; KBI says officer fired ‘multiple times,’ may have hit suspect
photo by: Kim Callahan
Story updated: 3:20 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, 2018.
The suspect in Monday’s double shooting in Lawrence was a three-time convicted felon who previously spent more than two decades in Kansas prisons.
Tommie J. May, 58, of Lawrence, was booked into the Douglas County Jail late Monday night on suspicion of two counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of criminal possession of a weapon by a felon, according to jail records. As of midday Tuesday, charges against him had not been filed.
photo by: Kansas Department of Corrections
Kansas Department of Corrections records show May has two aggravated robbery convictions in Sedgwick County and one robbery conviction in Saline County, and he has spent much of the past 30 years in state prison before his most recent parole last summer.
The shooting happened about 9:30 p.m. Monday at 713 W. 25th St., a four-unit apartment building where May lives. A man and a woman were shot and taken to regional hospitals with possible life-threatening injuries. Though, as of the following day, both were expected to survive, said Sgt. Amy Rhoads, of the Lawrence Police Department. Rhoads said Tuesday afternoon that police were still working on reports and she was unable to share more about their injuries or how the incident transpired.
Roommates of the man who was shot said May lived in the apartment next door to theirs. They said the woman who was shot didn’t live there but was visiting May.
Micki Ryan said her boyfriend was shot through the torso between his arms and was paralyzed. She was leaving for the hospital to see him on Tuesday morning.
Ryan said that she believed May shot the woman at his own apartment first, then shot Ryan’s boyfriend outside.
Ryan said she called 911, terrified she might be next.
“I was scared (expletive) that he was going to shoot me,” she said.
Julio Garcia, who lives with Ryan and her boyfriend, said he was asleep on the couch when the shootings happened and awoke to Ryan running and yelling that May had shot her boyfriend.
Garcia, who said he and May didn’t get along, said he’d seen May with a gun before and knew that he’d spent a long time in prison. Garcia said he, too, was afraid and stayed inside.
“If I would have come outside he would have shot me,” Garcia said.
They did not elaborate on what they think led to the shooting, though Ryan said May and her boyfriend were usually friendly.
photo by: Kim Callahan
Outside the apartment building Tuesday morning, apparent blood was visible in the driveway and on stairs leading to the upper-level units. Police investigators were marking evidence and photographing the scene, which remained roped off with crime-scene tape.
With July Fourth near, there had been fireworks in the area the night of the shooting, neighbors said.
That’s what Joshua Porter, who lives in the building next door, thought he heard, at least at first.
“I heard the pop, pop, pop, pop,” Porter said. “Then I heard the lady yelling, ‘No, no, no, no.'”
Assuming the sounds were fireworks and probably a mom yelling at her kid about them, Porter said he stayed inside and continued getting ready for his overnight work shift. He soon realized something more serious was going on when he saw police lights outside his window.
An outside agency, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, is investigating part of the incident that involved a Lawrence Police Department officer firing his weapon at the suspect after he fled the scene.
About five minutes after the initial shootings, a Lawrence Police Department officer saw the suspect, May, leaving the area in a green SUV and tried to stop the vehicle near 21st and Louisiana streets, according to a KBI news release Tuesday afternoon.
After the officer got out of his vehicle, the suspect drove his SUV and hit both the officer and the officer’s vehicle, the KBI said. The officer “fired his weapon multiple times toward the SUV, where it is believed the suspect was injured by gunfire,” the KBI said.
The suspect then fled south on foot, additional officers arrested him near 22nd and Ohio streets, and authorities recovered a gun near 21st and Louisiana streets where the officer had attempted to stop the SUV, the KBI said.
The suspect was taken to a hospital for injuries that weren’t life-threatening before being taken to jail, police said.
The officer, who was treated and released at the hospital, has been placed on administrative leave, per department protocol.
The Lawrence Police Department will continue investigating the shooting on West 25th Street.
Law enforcement asks anyone with information about the officer firing the gun to call the KBI at 785-296-8283 and anyone with information related to the shooting on West 25th Street to call Lawrence police at 785-832-7509.
May was released from prison and placed on parole in 2017, after spending more than 10 years incarcerated for a 2004 robbery conviction in Saline County, KDOC records show. Before that, he spent more than 10 years in prison for two aggravated robberies he committed in March and June of 1984 in Sedgwick County, KDOC records show.
Between his prison stints he spent a couple of years in Michigan and absconded his parole in 2001, before being listed as on parole in Sedgwick County in 2003.
May had used the alias May Cix, according to KDOC records. KDOC lists his first name as “Tommy” while Douglas County Jail records list him as “Tommie.”
He does not have prior criminal charges here, according to a search of Douglas County District Court records.
Monday night’s incident marks the third time in six weeks that a Lawrence police officer has discharged a firearm.
Rhoads said that’s why the KBI is investigating the most recent incident instead of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, which in accordance with a department agreement, is already investigating the previous two.
“They had to decline,” Rhoads said. “We contacted the KBI for assistance, and they had resources.”
The first incident was May 29, when an officer shot and injured a driver who was reportedly attacking another officer during a traffic stop near Sixth and Vermont streets.
The second was an incident Friday night in the 600 block of North Stowe Court, during which an officer discharged a firearm in response to a suspect who was reportedly brandishing a gun after allegedly committing a number of crimes and engaging in a standoff with police. The suspect was not hit, but the officer was placed on administrative leave, per department protocol.