A gunshot was fired and pepper spray was unleashed during a large fight involving juveniles and adults that erupted Saturday night at a carnival at the Truman Heritage Festival in Grandview.
The disturbance began about 9 p.m. on the last night of the three-day festival. Because of the size of the crowd involved in the fight, police from multiple agencies responded to the festival at the Meadowmere Park in the 13600 block of Byars Road.
During the melee, a woman sprayed pepper spray indiscriminately into the crowd and onto police officers to try to break it up.
Someone also fired a single gunshot, but no one was reported to have been hit by gunfire.
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Officers from the Kansas City Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol assisted.
Police arrested two juveniles and three adults. They face various charges of fighting in public and assault on a law enforcement officer.
No one was injured in the disturbance, however there were people who reported being exposed to the pepper spray.
Grandview’s mayor, board of aldermen, city leaders and parks and recreation staff were angry and disappointed with what happened at the festival, said Valarie Poindexter, communications coordinator for the city.
Grandview police acted quickly to ensure the crowd’s safety and no one was hurt, she said. Security plans for future festivals and events will be reviewed by police and city leaders.
One resident in a nearby neighborhood said he had just returned home and let his dogs out when they started going crazy and barking incisively. When he went outside to check on them, he saw a stream of people coming from the direction of the amphitheater and carnival.
They ran across the field, through woods, across yards, even jumping over fences, to get away from the gunshot. He said it was like they were “fleeing a war zone.”
Parents grabbed their children and dragged strollers behind them, cutting every possible corner to get to their vehicles as quickly as they could and leave.
“It was literary the most insane sight I have ever seen,” he said. “Kids crying, people yelling.”
Others posted comments to the Truman Heritage Festival’s Facebook page too.
One woman, who was there with her four grandchildren, commented that teenagers without parental supervision were forcing their way in front of people standing in line for the carnival ride.
A vendor said the festival was much better when it was held downtown. He said the fights were out of control Saturday night and that he planned to never go back as a vendor. The gunshot, the vendor said, was within 20 feet of his booth.