Mother of slain daughter reacts to arrests in Lawrence shooting
One of the men arrested in connection to the Oct. 1 shooting on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence, Kan., is the cousin of one of the three people fatally wounded.
Lawrence police identified the suspects as Ahmad Malik Rayton, 22, of Topeka, Kan., and Dominique Jaquez McMillon, 19, also of Topeka, Kan. Both have criminal histories.
The brother of one of the victims, Tre’Mel Dupree Dean, said that Rayton is a cousin.
“Somebody just called and me told me about it,” brother T’Juan Dean said. “I’m shocked about it.”
Rayton was charged with attempted second-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon while McMillon was charged with aggravated assault and battery.
According to booking records, Rayton’s bond is $1 million, and McMillon’s bond is $25,000. A date for a preliminary hearing has not been set.
Authorities said the charges stemmed from two persons who were shot but lived. Investigators said one or more of the victims were specifically targeted during the shooting while other persons were bystanders in the area and not involved.
At a joint press conference with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office and the Lawrence Police Department, officials said they are still looking for witnesses. More than 100 people were near the shooting.
“We do anticipate further arrests,” Lawrence Police Capt. Adam Heffley said.
Investigators worked almost 200 leads.
“We do know there are still witnesses out there we want to speak to,” Heffley said.
He didn’t rule out that there are other shooters who have not been arrested and said the police would continue to investigate “until all those responsible are brought to justice,” Heffley said.
Anyone with information should call the Lawrence Police Department or Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County at (785) 843-TIPS (8477).
The shooting happened as crowds left the bars on Massachusetts Street downtown around closing time early that Sunday morning.
In addition to 24-year-old Dean, killed were Leah Elizabeth Brown, 22, of Shawnee, and Colwin Lynn Henderson III, 20. Henderson and Dean were Topeka residents.
Two victims were treated at area hospitals for non-life threatening injuries and later released. They were identified as a 28-year-old man and 19-year-old man, both Topeka residents, authorities said Tuesday.
Gretchen Brown, the mother of Leah Elizabeth Brown, said Tuesday that she was pleased to learn about the arrests.
Brown said that she was “grateful for the hardworking and efforts of the Lawrence Police Department.”
Brown said she was saddened, however, that the arrests were of two young people.
“I’m relieved but saddened. I’m just sad, is this our society? That’s not the way of life,” she said. “Fifty years ago somebody would have got a black eye and maybe got a tooth knocked but now we are shooting into a crowd of people and taking innocent lives.”
Brown said they donated Leah’s eyes, skin, bone, connective tissue and heart to others. Fifty recipients benefited from her organs, she said.
Lawrence police said earlier this month that they thought the shooting stemmed from a “physical altercation” that occurred near the northwest corner of 11th and Massachusetts.
Dean said he knew little about the incident and was in the process learning more.
“I’m going to make some phone calls and find out more,” he said.
Family members and friends of the victims expressed relief that charges were filed, but they are expecting more to come.
They noticed that no one is yet charged with first-degree murder.
“The main guy is still at large,” Henderson’s aunt, Dallas Ratliff, posted on Facebook. “He will be caught.”
She and others shared the hope that the initial charges and having two suspects in custody will bring more arrests and steeper charges.
Ratliff echoed others’ dismay that a cousin of Dean had been charged.
“Disgusting!” she wrote.
Two and a half weeks before the Lawrence shooting, McMillon bonded out of jail after being arrested on four felony drug charges in Topeka. He was indicted last week on those charges, which accuse him of distributing marijuana.
McMillon also was charged last year in juvenile court with felony aggravated robbery and later pleaded no contest to felony theft.
Rayton also has a criminal history.
In September 2014, Rayton pleaded guilty in Shawnee County to felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor child endangerment charges and was sentenced to supervised probation. He was released from that supervision in August.
In 2013, Rayton was charged with misdemeanor battery. That charge was dismissed when he pleaded guilty in the felony aggravated assault case.