Five people, including one juvenile, were arrested early Friday morning after an incident in Lawrence where police say an off-duty officer was attacked with a crowbar while walking down the street.

In a statement Friday evening, department spokeswoman Laura McCabe said the off-duty officer was unarmed and walking down the sidewalk in West Lawrence before 2 a.m. when a car with several occupants passed by. Shortly after, she said, the officer was attacked by an assailant who had emerged from the tree line.

During a struggle, police say the off-duty officer disarmed a crowbar-wielding man but was then attacked by another with that same weapon. The officer was struck in the head, police said, before the two assailants fled the area in the same vehicle the off-duty officer reported seeing earlier.

The off-duty officer reported hearing gunfire but was not struck, police said. He was expected to recover from his injuries.

That morning, Lawrence police officers were subsequently dispatched to the corner of Bob Billings Parkway and George Williams Way in response to a weapons disturbance call involving the off-duty officer. The five were arrested after a car stop about a half mile away from the location of the reported disturbance.

Detectives with Lawrence police continued to work on the assault case as of Friday evening. In the police statement, McCabe said investigators would be sending a statement of probable cause in support of criminal charges, including attempted murder, to be reviewed by Douglas County prosecutors.

It was unclear based on available information from police whether the reported attack was believed to be random or targeted.

The four adults accused in the assault were being held in the Douglas County jail as of Friday night. The juvenile was transported to the juvenile detention center following the arrest.



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