Kansas City police are investigating a fatal shooting, possibly self-inflicted, of a Kansas City firefighter at 34th and the Paseo, near a fire station.
A resident of the area heard a gunshot, looked outside and saw the body between Kansas City Fire Station 17 and a residence to the south, police said.
The incident was reported about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. By 10 a.m., Mayor Sly James and many Fire Department officials and off-duty firefighters were at the scene.
In a joint statement, Fire Chief Paul Berardi, Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte acknowledged the firefighter’s death but did not release the firefighter’s name or how long he had worked for the department.
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“Our hearts are heavy today…,” the statement said. “This tragedy is difficult to understand. While we cannot know exactly what happened, this may be a reminder of the intense stress that our trained team of professionals endure as part of working in public safety.”
Grief counselors were being made available to city workers, according to the statement.
At one point near the scene Wednesday morning, a driver stopped from entering the area by police rolled down a window and said, “I worked with this guy for 20 years.”
Police used crime-scene tape to close off a large area, including around Station 17 at 3401 Paseo. The tape stretched east to Flora Avenue. Police shut down traffic along the Paseo from 33rd to 35th streets.
Equipment housed at that station includes Truck 2, the ladder truck that firefighter Larry J. Leggio rode to help fight an Oct. 12 fire on Independence Boulevard. Leggio and firefighter John V. Mesh died when a wall of the burning building collapsed. The firefighter who died Wednesday also fought the Oct. 12 blaze.
The station was also the firehouse of Anthony Bruno, a firefighter shot to death by a Kansas City police officer during a struggle near a downtown hotel in December 2013.