Off-duty officer injured, 5 arrested in alleged armed attack in west Lawrence

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Post updated at 5:37 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4:

Five teens — four adults and one minor — were arrested on suspicion of charges including attempted murder and aggravated robbery following an incident early Friday that left an off-duty Lawrence police officer injured.

Laura McCabe, a spokesperson for the Lawrence Police Department, said officers were called to Bob Billings Parkway and George Williams Way just before 2 a.m. Friday for a reported disturbance with weapons.

“We quickly learned the potential victim was an off-duty officer, who was able to provide a clear description of the car involved,” McCabe said.

The officer required treatment at the hospital for his injuries and will be OK, McCabe said.

“The victim tells us he was walking on a nearby sidewalk and saw a car pass by with several people inside,” McCabe said in an email update later Friday. “Moments later, the victim says he was surprised to see a male emerge from the tree line. The off-duty officer was unarmed. The victim says he walked by the man, but then turned around to see the man was swinging a crowbar at him. 

“The victim says he was able to avoid getting hit and knocked the object out of the man’s hands,” McCabe continued. “They struggled and when another man joined in, the victim says the first alleged assailant was able to grab the crowbar and hit him in the head. The group then took off in the same car the victim says he saw pass by before the altercation. As the victim fled, he says he heard gunshots, but was not hit.”

After leaving the scene of the original incident, “the suspects threw potential evidence from the car, which we were able to recover,” including a firearm, McCabe said. “This makes the crime scene fairly extensive.”

“Officers eventually stopped the car at Bob White Drive and Lake Alvamar Drive, where we took four adults and a juvenile into custody,” McCabe said.

She said the investigations unit was working to collect evidence and file reports. Investigators will compile facts of the case and send an affidavit to the district attorney suggesting “a variety of potential charges to include probable cause for attempted murder.”

According to the Douglas County jail’s booking log, four adults were booked at 6:20 a.m. Friday.

An 18-year-old Lawrence man was arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. A 19-year-old Pomona man and a 19-year-old Lawrence man were arrested on suspicion of aggravated robbery. An 18-year-old Lawrence man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault in addition to aggravated robbery.

All four were being held without bond, according to the booking log.

All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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