A shootout erupted early Sunday morning across several blocks in east Kansas City, injuring seven people, prompting police to issue a citywide alarm, and causing multiple wrecks.
One of the injured was taken to a hospital in critical condition. A police officer fired shots, possibly injuring another person. Three vehicles wrecked as drivers tried to escape the chaos.
For hours after the shooting stopped about 2:30 a.m., a portion of the neighborhood from 70th to 72nd streets and from Prospect to Brooklyn avenues remained closed while police collected bullet casings and other evidence.
The scene of the shooting, near Gregory Boulevard and Prospect Avenue, already had been struck by violence more than once this year. It’s not far from where police shot an 18-year-old man in August and where a quadruple shooting killed one and injured a child.
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Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said he was at the scene of the Northland homicide when he received a call about what was unfolding far to the south at Gregory and Prospect. It’s a neighborhood he knows well, he said, home to many solid citizens and business owners. But it’s also a place where drug sales and other criminal activity emerge at night.
“We are concerned about that area,” Forté said. “Anytime you have a rolling gunbattle while police are there trying to help the wounded, that tells you the caliber of people we were dealing with this morning.”
Before the shooting started, a crowd had gathered near Gregory and Prospect shortly after 2 a.m., Forté said. Officers responding to reports of shots fired found people injured there. The officers continued to hear gunfire for several minutes.
Police said they saw people in nearby vehicles firing at each other, including one man leaning out through the window of a moving vehicle and shooting what might have been a rifle.
One officer fired shots out of fear for officer safety, according to Capt. Stacey Graves, a Kansas City police spokeswoman.
Police issued a citywide call for help, and law enforcement from multiple surrounding agencies responded, including the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
When the shooting stopped, seven people were injured, including one person in critical condition and others treated at hospitals for gunshot wounds that did not appear to be life-threatening.
One person who reported that he was shot by a police officer was treated for what police called minor injuries. No police officers were injured. A police vehicle damaged by gunfire was towed from the scene.
The police officer who fired shots is on administrative leave, as is routine after shootings, Graves said.
The investigation led police to at least four different crime scenes. Police found a vehicle that may have been involved in the shooting.
Police were questioning people Sunday. No charges have been filed.
Forté said he has heard from residents who are concerned about the violence. The police chief said the department needs all police officers to maintain contact with citizens in their patrol areas who can share information.
“One of the best things we can do is build these relationships, so when we do have something brewing they’ll call us beforehand,” Forté said.