The manager of a Kansas City record store where a 28-year-old woman was killed in a murder-suicide last month warned employees to lock a door because her son was armed and distraught — but she didn’t warn the target of his anger, according to civil lawsuit recently filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.
The manager also didn’t alert police about the threat against Cheri Bland, a worker at the store. Dorothy Bell neglected to tell workers at the 7th Heaven store at 76th Street and Troost Avenue to hide Bland in order to protect her from her son, Desmond Bell, the lawsuit alleged.
The fatally shooting happened Aug. 28 inside the store located at 7621 Troost Ave. Police responded to reports of an active shooter and within minutes more than 20 officers converged on the scene.
Bland, a Kansas City resident, was found dead on the floor inside the store with several gunshot wounds. A man, later identified as Desmond Bell, also was found dead.
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According to the lawsuit filed by her parents in Jackson County Circuit Court:
Bell’s mother works as a store manager and was aware of her son’s history of physical, emotional and mental abuse against Bland. The store took no action to protect Bland.
Bland filed a protection order against Bell on Aug. 26, two days before she was fatally shot. Bland and Bell are the parents of a 10-month-old child. On Aug. 27, Bell sent Bland a threatening message on Facebook including a picture of two of them together with “R.I.P.” written on the pictures.
Bland was scheduled to work on Aug. 28. Bland did not tell Bell when she was scheduled to work that day. Dorothy Bell told her son when Bland was scheduled to work, the suit claims.
On Aug. 28, Bell sent a Facebook message to Bland saying, “Whatever happened to her today was her fault.”
Bell visited his mother the day of the shooting. Dorothy Bell knew that her son was armed and distraught about the protection order and planned to confront Bland at the store.
Dorothy Bell called the store and instructed an employee to lock a side door. She did not call police about the threat against Bland or tell employees to leave the store or suggest hiding Bland to protect her from Bell.
The lawsuit alleged that the store, identified in court records as Music Distribution Network, was negligent in its failure to provide a safe work environment as well as in the hiring and supervising its employees. The store owner, Jan Fichman, could not be reached for comment.