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Two women who stopped for directions are shot in KC

Updated: 2013-06-26T05:09:23Z

By CHRISTINE VENDEL

The Kansas City Star

Two women visiting Kansas City took a wrong turn, stopped for directions and ended up getting shot when a gunman opened fire on two men talking to the visitors, police said Tuesday.

One of the men, Carlton L. Lewis, 27, of Kansas City, died in the 9:15 p.m. Monday shooting.

The visitors had stopped at a liquor store at 18th Street and Benton Boulevard before driving into a housing complex and ending up in the 1700 block of Kansas Avenue. After getting directions from Lewis and a second man, they lingered to chat with them in the parking lot, police said. The women remained in the car and the men were outside the vehicle, police said.

Suddenly a gunman on foot opened fire, killing Lewis and critically wounding the other man. The women heard gunshots and their car window shattered. The driver noticed she had been struck in the arm and her passenger in the neck.

The women sped away and stopped for help in a McDonald’s parking lot near 14th Street and Prospect Avenue. They are expected to survive.

“They were innocent bystanders,” said Homicide Sgt. Joe Mabin. “They just happened to be talking to the men who were shot.”

Mabin said he did not have any motive or suspect information to release.

Lewis pleaded guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter in connection with a 2009 drunken-driving crash in which his vehicle slammed into a firetruck, killing his mother and girlfriend. He was serving four years of probation.

According to court records, his blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit and he had smoked marijuana before the 4:15 a.m. crash on Aug. 29, 2009, in the 3200 block of Indiana Avenue. He told police he was asleep in the backseat when the wreck happened, but firefighters told police they had to cut Lewis out of the driver’s seat. His mother, Crystal S. Lewis, 47, died in the front passenger seat. His girlfriend, Melinda N. Reliford, 32, died in the backseat.

To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to cvendel@kcstar.com.

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