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Man arrested in deadly Lawrence crime spree had history of drug convictions

<i>KCTV</i><br/>Lawrence Police released the man's name Sunday night
Lawrence Police released the man's name Sunday night

By Betsy Webster

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    LAWRENCE, Kansas (KCTV) — A man arrested for killing two men at two homes miles apart from each other then shooting at police spent time in prison for possession of narcotics and aggravated assault, among other crimes.

Lawrence Police released the man’s name Sunday night, but KCTV5 has a policy of not naming suspects until they are charged in court. The 51-year-old man is in the Douglas Count my jail awaiting charges.

Earlier in the day, there was a large law enforcement presence, including a bomb and arson team, at a duplex at 3419 Harvard Road near Kasold Drive. Arrest records showed the suspect lived in one of the two units there.

Colton Denk and Lauren McGovern were in the process of moving into the other unit. They had to put the second day of their move on hold Sunday because of the crime scene. They started unloading their first truckload of stuff on Saturday and met the man who they thought would be their new neighbor.

“He came out shirtless, stitches all over his hand. He had a bandage and some bruise on his arms. And he, I could just tell he was not in his right mind. He told me he just got out of the hospital,” Denk described.

He and McGovern chalked it up to the heat and possible medications from the hospital stay. They would have no idea what would happen just hours later.

The following is an account of what happened overnight provided by Lawrence Police Department Communications Manager Laura McCabe.

At 1 a.m. Sunday, police were called to a home at 1115 Tennessee about a shooting. They found a 53-year-old man shot. He later died at the hospital.

Not long after that 911 call, they got another shooting call at a duplex about 2-1/2 miles from the first address. A 43-year-old man was found shot dead at 325 Northwood Lane.

Police worked through the night to identify a suspect. When they did and tried to stop the man at about 6 a.m., he led them on a chase through town and onto K-10.

He fired shots out of his window on the highway at pursuing officers. They were not hurt. Eudora police deployed stop sticks to help get the man into custody.

Records from the Kansas Department of Corrections show convictions for crimes in Clay County, Kansas. It is several counties west of Douglas County.

He was convicted in 2009 for separate 2008 crimes that included possession of narcotics in February, aggravated assault in August and criminal threat in October.

He was convicted again in 2015 for at 2012 possession of narcotics offense. His completed his sentence and was discharged from custody in 2017.

The couple moving into the adjacent unit from his said the whole things is unsettling to say the least.

“It could have been us that he just randomly decided to kill, and that scares me a lot,” said McGovern.

McCabe whether police believe the suspected shooter knew either victim but said they believe he acted alone. The following is a portion of the statement McCabe made on the department’s social media platforms.

“This investigation involves multiple agencies, several locations, two victims, and the attempted murder of several Law Enforcement Officers. In an effort to ensure all information is accurate, in a fluid situation, we will not be providing further details right now but clearly understand the public’s interest and concern, so we will update you on a regular basis. In the meantime, we firmly believe this suspect acted alone, the public is in no further danger, and the LKPD officers fired upon have immediate access to our various support services.”

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