After several violent hours in Kansas City, three people are dead and three are injured. In all but one incident in the roughly 10-hour span, gun violence was at play.
Two of the deaths reported have been classified as homicides.
The other, which involved a body found in a burning car, is under a suspicious death investigation because the circumstances are unknown, said Capt. Leslie Foreman, a spokeswoman for the Kansas City Police Department.
The overnight homicides on Wednesday mark the 54th and 55th homicides of the year for Kansas City. By this time last year, there were 60 homicides. Last year ended with 182, the most in the city’s history in a single year, according to data maintained by The Star.
“I have great concerns with this pace but I’m more concerned with the fact that there’s a hopelessness that pervades when you have violent crime like this year after year,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.
“There is this belief that nothing will be solved and nothing can be solved and that leads to people to not want to talk to those who are trying to solve crime,” he said. “That leads people to not want to be invested in these efforts.”
That trend needs to be stopped, he said.
“I believe we are lacking in buy-in on a cohesive crime fighting strategy; I think we are lacking in some of the community connection that we need to build and I think we are lacking in some ways the desire to see the type of dramatic and transformative change we need to have to address crime issues,” he said. “Doing the exact same thing will leave us in many ways in the exact same position.”
The violence began at about 7 p.m. Wednesday when officers were called to the 3100 block of East 12th Street on a reported shooting. Officers found one victim who appeared to have been shot.
A second shooting was reported moments after the first around the corner in the 1200 block of Benton Boulevard. Officers found a person who had been shot. Both victims were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
The first homicide was reported just before 9:30 p.m. in the parking lot outside the Domino’s Pizza in The Shops on Blue Parkway.
The victim was with other people inside Domino’s when an altercation began.
“It appears this resulted in one person firing shots which struck the victim,” Sgt. Jake Becchina, a spokesman with the Kansas City Police Department, said in an email. The victim was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Three chalk circles, which police use to outline where evidence is found, remained on the sidewalk outside the store Thursday morning. A window and a door were boarded up. An employee inside the pizza shop declined to comment.
Police on Thursday afternoon said the victim was 32-year-old Marc A. Davis.
One person was shot to death Wednesday night after an altercation broke out inside the Domino’s Pizza story in the Shops on Blue Parkway shopping center. Three chalk circles police use to outline where evidence is found remained visible Thursday morning on the sidewalk outside the Domino’s. A window and door were boarded up.
About 30 minutes later, police responded to a shots fired call in the 11100 block of Hillcrest Road, Becchina said.
Arriving officers found a male victim in the street. When emergency medical workers arrived, they declared him dead. The victim was later identified as 18-year-old Elijaah Boston.
A little before 5 a.m. on Thursday, police responded to another call reporting that shots had been fired in the 8500 block of Euclid Avenue.
Arriving officers found a man who had been shot. He was taken to the hospital, where he was reported to be in stable condition, said Foreman with Kansas City police.
Police were also called shortly before 6 a.m. to meet with Kansas City firefighters who found a body inside a burning car in the 8100 block of Indiana Avenue. Homicide detectives were investigating the person’s death as suspicious because the circumstances were unknown, said Foreman.
Police also were investigating whether the car fire was connected to the shooting on Euclid because of the time and proximity of the two incidents.
The overnight shootings and homicides follow what has been a violent week in Kansas City, beginning last Friday when two brothers — 16-year-old Abdulwahid and 14-year-old Abdirahman Abdulaziz — were fatally shot just outside of an apartment after returning home from Ramadan service.
Kansas City police fatally shot the suspect in their killing, 25-year-old Hanad A. Abdiaziz, after an exchange of gunfire on Saturday evening. Family said the teens were the younger brothers of Abdiaziz.
A 2019 story by The Star found that homicides generally start climbing in April and continue through the spring and summer months, peaking in August.
“Violence goes up during the summer months. School is out and people are out and about,” Ken Novak, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said at the time. “You just have more natural interactions between people. The law of averages will say the more interactions that people have in the summer, the more likely there is going to be conflict.”
Rosilyn Temple, executive director of KC Mothers in Charge, said they have been on the front lines fighting for change, but need an increased community presence.
“This has been happening many, many years in Kansas City and it’s not OK,” Temple said. “We as a community owe it to ourselves to take charge and say we’ve had enough.”
She called the 55 deaths a “bad number,” and said she thinks Kansas City will reach last year’s number of 60 killings at this time soon.
“My heart cries out for my community,” Temple said.
“The community has to make a stand. People deserve to live and to grow up and to be safe in our communities.”
Anyone can be impacted by violence at any time, said Damon Daniel, president of Ad Hoc Group Against Crime.
“It shows the level of people’s inability to resolve conflict without violence,” Daniel said. “We have a fraction of our community that resolves conflict with violence, period.”
He said the justice system needs to work for the people. He added that public officials should be listening to the community about how to increase trust, including creating an independent review board to investigate use of force incidents and protecting witnesses who come forward.
“The justice system has to work for ordinary people, especially low-income and communities of color as well,” Daniel said.
Ad Hoc has been operating at a limited capacity to keep people safe as it continues to serve the community, Daniel said, but that means they aren’t able to reach people as well. The group offers various services to support the community, including counseling for victims of violence.
Daniel said people should think about the legacy they will leave behind.
“When the books are closed on your life, what do you want people to remember you by? What’s the legacy that you’re leaving behind?” Daniel said. “If we’re more conscious about the legacy that each of us are leaving behind, I think we’ll begin to see a shift.”
Foreman, with Kansas City police, asked or the community’s help and support to help reduce the violence.
“We’re all in this together,” she said. “We all live here. We all have these tragic events day in and day out, and we want to make it better.”