Alleged gunman in West 25th Street double shooting charged with attempted murders

photo by: Sara Shepherd

Lawrence police investigate the scene of a double shooting at 713 W. 25th St. the morning of Tuesday, July 3, 2018. The shooting occurred the previous night, leaving one man and one woman with life-threatening injuries.

Story updated at 6:13 p.m. July 5, 2018

A Lawrence man has been charged with two counts of attempted murder — one first-degree and one second-degree — in this week’s double shooting on West 25th Street.

Tommy (aka “Tommie”) J. May, 58, also was charged with criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to a complaint filed Thursday in Douglas County District Court.

May made his first appearance in court, via video from the jail, Thursday afternoon. Judge James George set May’s bond at $500,000 and scheduled his next hearing for Monday.

May made statements indicating he was a military veteran.

May said he came to Lawrence through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but didn’t explain that any further, and asked whether he could get an appointed attorney through the VA. May also at one point asked the judge to repeat something, saying he has a hearing difficulty as a result of military service.

May also said he had no money.

“I have absolutely no resources or contacts in Lawrence,” May said. “I’m not solvent … even if you made it $10 I wouldn’t be able to make bond.”

George appointed attorney Joshua Seiden to represent May but said Seiden could be released from the case if May found another attorney.

The shootings happened about 9:30 p.m. Monday at 713 W. 25th St., a four-unit apartment building where May lives. Police said the victims, initially taken to regional hospitals with possibly life-threatening injuries, were expected to survive.

May is accused of shooting Marzetta Yarbrough with the intent to kill her, according to the attempted first-degree murder charge. He is accused of attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of Jeremy C. Jones, according to the same complaint.

Roommates of Jones previously told the Journal-World they lived in the apartment next door to May’s. They said the woman who was shot, Yarbrough, didn’t live there but was visiting May.

The witnesses didn’t elaborate on what led to the shooting, and police have not released those details either.

photo by: Kansas Department of Corrections

Tommy May

As of Thursday afternoon, no charges were filed against May in connection with his violent arrest after the shootings.

An outside law enforcement agency, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, is investigating that incident because it involved a Lawrence Police Department officer discharging his gun.

May drove away from the shooting scene and when an officer tried to conduct a traffic stop, May allegedly drove into the officer and his patrol vehicle, and the officer fired multiple shots toward May. The KBI has said “it is believed the suspect was injured by gunfire.”

May fled on foot and was arrested a few blocks away. He was taken to a hospital before being transported to the jail later the same night.

The officer was treated at the hospital and released, and placed on administrative leave for the investigation, in accordance with department policy.

photo by: Kim Callahan

A crime scene at 713 W. 25th St. is pictured Tuesday morning, July 3, 2018. Police found two shooting victims at the four-plex Monday night.

May did decades of prison time before this week’s shooting.

He was paroled in 2017 after spending more than 10 years incarcerated for a 2004 robbery conviction in Saline County, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records. 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 those lengthy 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.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd

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