Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Teen shot during fight in Lawrence

March 21, 2001

A Tonganoxie High School senior is facing several weeks of recovery from a gunshot wound to his leg.

Jason K. Smith, 18, was shot in his left leg early Friday morning in Lawrence, outside a club in the 1000 block of Massachusetts Street. Doctors anticipate recovery will be six to 10 weeks.

About 1 a.m. Friday, Smith was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released. Smith suffered from a gunshot wound to his left upper thigh, just inches short of an artery.

"I was shot in the back of my leg," Smith said. "I stumbled and hopped around everywhere for about 45 seconds before I realized what had happened. My leg was numb at first."

The incident occurred when Smith and five of his friends were leaving the Granada, 1020 Massachusetts St. A 27-year-old Tonganoxie woman, one of Smith's friends, had been kicked out of the club after getting into a fight with another woman inside. Smith and their other friends, all from Tonganoxie, left with her. Outside the club, three men, all of whom were all from Topeka, were standing to the right, Smith said.

Smith didn't recognize the men. One of them nudged Smith's female friend. So, she pushed back and then the man hit her, according to Smith. Smith then hit the man, defending his friend. Smith said his friend had been drunk, but the man had no right to hit her. One of the other two men, standing about 10 feet away, shot Smith with a semiautomatic handgun.

"I started hitting him and the next thing I knew I was stumbling around," Smith said.

After stumbling around and falling back, Smith said that one of the men approached him and started to swing at him again.

Smith said that one of his friends saw a police officer stopped nearby and ran to get help. But a police report said Sgt. Tarik Khatib heard the gunshot, saw Smith stumbling around and came to his aid.

The suspect fled, but a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol was found on the sidewalk near the scene.

Late Friday afternoon, a 41-year-old Topeka man was arrested on charges unrelated to the shooting. He has not been charged in Smith's case.

"He has been interviewed," Lawrence Police Detective John Lewis said Monday. "He has not been charged with the shooting yet, though. He is in custody with unrelated charges. The information with this case will be passed on to the DA. Lawrence police are kind of on hold now until there is some further investigation."

Lewis said the other Topeka men were questioned after the altercation and released.

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