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Sergeant Cleared in the July Shooting Incident With Attempted Double Homicide Suspect

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 1:50pm

On July 2, 2018, at approximately 9:35 p.m. Lawrence Police Department Sergeant Robert Neff located a vehicle believed to be associated with the report of a double shooting.  The vehicle was traveling eastbound on West 23rd Street.  Sgt. Neff started to follow the vehicle and attempted to make a car stop in the 2100 block of Louisiana Street.  The suspect sped off in the vehicle, ran the vehicle over a fire hydrant, and crashed it into a yard.

Sgt. Neff exited his patrol car, drew his weapon, and ordered the occupant out of the crashed vehicle.  The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Tommie May, did not comply.  May backed the vehicle out of the yard and collided into Sgt. Neff’s patrol car.   Sgt. Neff continued to order May out of the vehicle.  May accelerated the vehicle and struck Sgt. Neff.  The strike caused Sgt. Neff to be momentarily on top of the hood of the vehicle. Sgt. Neff discharged his weapon at the vehicle before falling to the ground and continued to fire at the vehicle as it drove south on Louisiana Street.

May suffered a laceration to his arm.  It is unknown if the laceration was caused by a bullet or some other source of injury.  Sgt. Neff suffered abrasions and bruising.

After an extensive review of all records and evidence presented to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, the District Attorney finds no criminal liability on the part of Sgt. Neff for the discharge of his weapon.

May was later arrested in connection with the alleged attempted double homicide that occurred earlier in the evening and prior to Sgt. Neff’s contact with him.  A multiple charge criminal complaint was filed against May in the Douglas County District Court.  The case is set for preliminary hearing on October 16, 2018.  May is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  Charges are merely allegations of criminal conduct.

This case was investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at the request of the Lawrence Police Department.


*Rule 226 - Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct
3.6 Advocate: Trial Publicity
3.8 Advocate: Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor

Media Contact

Cheryl Wright Kunard - Assistant to the District Attorney