Lawrence man accused of exchanging gunfire with neighbor and causing police standoff gets probation

Joshua Townsend

A Lawrence man was granted probation on Tuesday for an incident where he was alleged to have exchanged gunfire with his neighbor before barricading himself in his home in an hourslong standoff with police.

The man, Joshua Evan Townsend, 49, was originally charged with second-degree attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to charging documents. But Townsend’s charges were later amended to a single felony count of criminal discharge of a firearm as part of a plea agreement, and he pleaded no contest to the amended charge in December. On Tuesday he was sentenced to 14 months in prison, which Judge Sally Pokorny then suspended to 18 months of probation.

The charges were in connection with an incident on May 19 and 20, 2023, in the 1900 block of Heatherwood Drive in western Lawrence, as the Journal-World reported.

According to the affidavit in support of Townsend’s arrest, police responded to the area around 11 p.m. after 29-year-old Justin Lindeman called 911 and said “my neighbor just tried to shoot me.”

Lindeman told police that he had returned home from a fishing trip around 10 p.m. When he arrived, he said, his girlfriend told him that Townsend, the neighbor, had asked her if she needed a new boyfriend, referencing a friend of Townsend’s who was with him. Upon learning this, Lindeman said he called Townsend on the phone to confront him. Townsend then said he would meet Lindeman at his residence, according to the affidavit.

Lindeman told police that a short time later, Townsend sent a text message saying that he was outside. When Lindeman went out to meet him, he said Townsend was aiming a handgun with a green laser sight at him. Lindeman said he told Townsend “you’re not going to shoot me” and the two continued to argue. Then, Lindeman said he went inside his residence briefly and put his own pistol in his waistband, according to the affidavit.

When Lindeman returned to his porch, he told police, Townsend began backing away into his own yard while staring at Lindeman; then, when Lindeman told Townsend to “go back home,” Lindeman said Townsend lifted his firearm and shot at him. Lindeman told police that he could feel the “velocity” of the bullet as it passed him, and that he pulled out his own weapon and fired three rounds; Townsend responded by firing five or six rounds back, Lindeman said. Neither man was hit during the exchange. Police were able to later review doorbell camera footage of the incident from Lindeman’s residence, according to the affidavit.

When police arrived, Townsend refused to exit his home, according to the affidavit, and police set up a perimeter and deployed the Crisis Intervention Team, who attempted to negotiate with Townsend. Police were able to make safe entry into Townsend’s home around 4 a.m.

Another neighbor adjacent to Townsend’s residence had reported that around 3 a.m. he had found a gun with a laser sight on it in his yard. The neighbor said he did not know how the gun got there, according to the affidavit.

After Townsend was taken into custody, he spoke briefly with police and told them that he had been drinking earlier that evening and that the comment he made to the woman earlier that night was “in jest” and “it was a (expletive) joke.” Townsend then said “that dude shot … he pulled out a gun and shot.” He then asked to end the interview and to speak to a lawyer, according to the affidavit.

An arrest affidavit is a sworn document detailing the probable cause behind a person’s arrest. Allegations in affidavits have not been proved in court.

Lindeman was not charged in connection with the incident. Townsend has been free on a $50,000 surety bond.

Also facing charges in connection with the incident is Phillip Michael Eravi, 54, who is charged with one felony count of interference with law enforcement. Eravi is alleged to have entered the active crime scene and forced multiple officers to leave their protected positions during the standoff, as the Journal-World reported.


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