Archive for Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Two men arrested in connection with Sunday morning Lawrence shooting

May 21, 2013

Two men have been arrested in connection with a Sunday morning shooting that left two Topeka men in critical condition.

Monday night, Lawrence police detectives arrested Erick Shakeel Smith, 20, of Topeka, on suspicion of two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Steven Michael Gigger, 29, of Topeka, was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery in connection to the shooting in the 800 block of Greever Terrace.

Both men were arrested in Shawnee County and booked into Douglas County Jail, where they remained Tuesday with bond not yet set. Before Smith was arrested Monday, he had been free on a $20,000 bond after a January arrest in Topeka on suspicion of aggravated battery, according to court records.

The shooting left Tommy D. Andrews, 33, and Michael A. Holford, 27, in critical condition.

Andrews was taken to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., while Holford was taken to Overland Park Regional Medical Center. A condition report for Andrews was not available, but Holford was reported to be in critical but stable condition on Sunday afternoon. The hospitals did not provide updates on the men's conditions on Monday afternoon.

The shooting

When the incident began Sunday morning, officers came into contact with one shooting victim near the bar Club Magic, 804 West 24th St., after responding to reports of a person brandishing a gun inside the bar. As officers arrived at the club, they heard multiple gunshots going off a few blocks to the north.

Several 911 callers reported gunshots in the 800 block of Greever Terrace, which is about three blocks north of Club Magic and where both men reportedly were shot. Officers found several people on scene, including one of the victims.

Moments later, a vehicle driven by the second gunshot victim crashed into a police patrol car in the 23rd Street McDonald’s parking lot adjacent to Club Magic, as he attempted to return to the bar for help.

A 22-year-old Topeka man was arrested for displaying a firearm in the bar during the initial disturbance and interfering with duties of police, but Trent McKinley, Lawrence Police spokesman, said it was not clear whether that man had any connection to the shootings.

That incident was the latest of several recent gun-related disturbances at the club.

In March 2012, a 30-year-old Lawrence man was wounded in a shooting at the address, when the building was known as the Taste Lounge, Bar and Grill.

Club management responds

However, Sean Hall, general manager of Club Magic, said those incidents occurred before the current owners took control of the property in May 2012. And he said it's not clear that the shooting, which occurred blocks away, was connected to Club Magic.

Hall said the club's professional security staff disarmed the 22-year-old Topeka man who displayed a gun inside the bar Sunday morning, and he doesn't know if either the victims or the attackers in the shooting had attended the club.

The first Hall learned of the shooting, he said, was when he saw a gunshot victim arrive in a nearby parking lot.

"It's tragic," Hall said. "You see that kind of thing in the movies, but not in real time." Hall said he is as alarmed as everyone else about the violence on Sunday morning, and is inviting the police and the public to an open meeting at the club at 7 p.m. Friday.

Hall knows the club has a history, he said, and he wants to find solutions to let the business break with that past and be a good neighbor.

"I hate to see this happening," he said. "We have to find our niche, but this is definitely not it."

Anyone with information about the shooting on Sunday is asked to contact the Lawrence Police Department at (785) 832-7509 or Crime Stoppers at (785) 843-TIPS (8477). Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous, and anyone with information leading to an arrest is eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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