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Fireworks stand operator describes stabbing

Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 7:10 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawn Douglas says you just need to keep going in life. For him, that meant returning to work hours after being stabbed.

Douglas runs a fireworks stand in the parking lot outside the Dillons store at SW 21st and Fairlawn. Just after 9 p.m. Thursday, he says a man approached the stand.

“Gentleman came up to me, you know he asked if we had a certain type of firework, next thing I know he lunges at me,” Douglas recalled when 13 NEWS visited him at the stand Friday morning. ”I felt like he punched me, then when he pulled out his hand, he had a knife.”

Douglas was stabbed in the center of his back and near his arm pit before he was able to separate himself from the man.

“I managed to push him away and pull my gun, at that point he decided you know, to retreat,” Douglas said. “He started yelling racial slurs and everything else at people.”

Douglas said several people who saw the attack, including his son, chased the man. They helped Topeka Police find Austin Langley, 40, a few blocks away. Langley was arrested and booked into the Shawnee Co. Jail in connection with attempted murder.

Topeka Police Department Lieutenant Munoz says all reports of the incident are being sent to the Department of Justice for consideration of charges relating to a hate crime.

“Detectives consulted with the DOJ at the beginning of their investigation and any charges relating to a hate crime will come from the District Attorney’s Office,” says Lt. Munoz.

”I think the hardest part was my kids seeing that and hearing that,” Douglas said. “It made it pretty tough.”

Douglas exchanged smiles and hugs as he returned to the scene of the attack Friday morning. He said it was important to him to not take the day off.

“One to show my kids you know, you keep going. Two, just to get a job done that I started,” he said. “I’m still here. My kids were here and it’s hard on them but I’m still standing.”

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