Woman dies after shooting at Lawrence store


A 25-year-old woman died the afternoon of May 8 after she was shot while working at the Dollar Tree on Pendleton Pike in Lawrence.

Lawrence Police Chief Gary Woodruff said the call came in around 1:30 p.m., and officers responded to the scene. They found the victim with at least one gunshot wound. She was treated at the scene and then taken to a local hospital. Woodruff said she later died from her injuries. 

Witnesses and other sources led police to identify the suspect as a former Dollar Tree employee, Jalen Thomas, 21, of Indianapolis. He was safely arrested and has been charged with murder, although the final charges are up to the prosecutor’s office. 

Woodruff stressed that the crime was not a random act of violence. 

“This is two known people to each other,” he said. “What exactly were the circumstances remain under investigation. But it is definitely not a random act.”

Woodruff said he’s not sure how recently Thomas had been employed at the business, but the two definitely knew each other. He also expressed concern with how easily people can turn to violence. 

“Just in general, not specifically with this case, people seem far too willing to visit violence upon others instead of finding better ways of managing their perceived conflicts,” he said. “There seems to be a general degradation of the reverence of life. There needs to be more reverence of life when it comes to making life-altering decisions to use violence.”

The coroner’s office has identified the victim as Jasmine Bennett.