Shooting in Lawrence rocks community


Jenna Black

A small memorial is assembled at the corner of 11th and Massachusetts street in honor of three people who lost their lives Oct. 1. Items gathered at the memorial included flowers, candles and more.

Early Sunday morning, a gunman opened fire on the northwest corner of 11th and Massachusetts street around 1:40 a.m. in Lawrence. Five people were shot, three fatally and two suffered injuries. It is now believed that the shooting was not random, but a targeted attack. No suspect has been identified at this time.

A group of Baker students were out that evening at Brothers Bar and Grill, yards from where the shooting occurred. Senior Bennett White was one of those students.

“Everybody got kicked out of Brothers at 1:30 a.m., and we kind of stood there and some people went out,” White said. “I’m glad we stayed in the back of the group standing outside while there was another group north of us, and the shooting happened north of us.”

White and his friends heard the first six shots as they continued to exit the bar.

“All of us fell to the ground. The three guys jumped over the four girls and kind of covered them up, and then there were between four and six shots and that’s when we went to the ground,” White said.

The group was able to get behind cars and flower beds to better shield themselves from the continuous gunfire. White and his friends all made it home safely that night.

The three killed were Leah Elizabeth Brown of Shawnee, Colwin Lynn Henderson III and Tre’Mel Dupree Dean, both of Topeka. All three were in their twenties.

The evening had been busy for the city. ‘Late Night at the Phog,’ a University of Kansas basketball event, was held at Allen Fieldhouse that night. It featured a performance by popular rap artist ‘Lil Yachty. Yachty then went to the Granada Theater for a special guest appearance. It has been determined that the activities inside the club and at Allen Fieldhouse were unrelated to the shooting.

While Lawrence is not a stranger to gun violence, an event of this nature and magnitude has not occurred on Massachusetts street in recent years.

Baker students have had varying reactions. Senior Catey Payne’s sister works at Mass Street Fish House on Massachusetts street and was there during the shooting.

“I was nervous because she works downtown, she’s always in that area, you never kind of expect to think about that in relation to a family member,” Payne said. “It really took me back for a second.”

Freshman Liam Barnsby is from Scotland and was shocked to hear about the incident.

“I’ve never had to worry about gun violence because of where I’m from, so that’s quite an eye-opener,” Barnsby said. “For it to be so close and a place I’ve visited many times that was quite scary in a way.”

The Lawrence Police Department, along with the city coroner, worked into the morning identifying evidence and marking the crime scene. The block between 10th and 11th street was marked with caution tape, and barricades were in place. Several Lawrence residents were out on their morning walks or on their way to breakfast and stumbled upon the crime scene. Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. the street was reopened.

The investigation is still ongoing.