A normal commute to work turned deadly near City Hall on Wednesday, leaving a wife without her husband and a young Kansas City man charged with murder.
Rickey C. Battee, 24, was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Jai T. Scott in a shooting just west of City Hall in Kansas City. Prosecutors have requested a cash bond of $250,000.
The incident stemmed from an early morning argument that went horribly wrong about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday when a man shot Scott, who had just dropped his wife off at work.
Scott, 45, collapsed to the pavement outside a municipal parking garage near 11th and Oak streets. His wife works in the city’s business license office in a storefront in that garage.
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Nearby police officers heard the shots. Some started first aid on the victim while others chased and quickly arrested a suspect.
Scott, who was unresponsive while being attended by the ambulance crew, died during surgery at a local hospital, police said.
City officials confirmed that Scott was the husband of a city employee in the Finance Department’s business license office and the brother-in-law of another employee in the treasury division of the Finance Department.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to both families,” finance director Randy Landes said.
The city was making grief counselors available.
In announcing the charges against Battee, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the family appreciated the outpouring of calls and support from the city’s Finance Department, but family members were requesting privacy as they deal with their lives being shattered.
“They are in a lot of shock because when they woke up this morning and were traveling to work, like many of us here were doing, their day set off on a completely different path,” Baker said.
Scott worked for the Salvation Army at its Adult Rehabilitation Center at 1351 E. 10th St., a Salvation Army spokeswoman said.
Police spokesman Tye Grant said officers captured the suspect in the area of Ninth and McGee streets, not far from the federal courthouse. They brought in search dogs to find the gun.
Grant said several witnesses saw the shooting and its aftermath. They reported that an argument preceded the shooting, Grant said.
“It appears to be some sort of silly altercation,” Grant said.
The charging document said a witness saw the suspect kick Scott’s tire as he drove by. Scott left his vehicle and a fight ensued. A metro bus video showed the encounter between the two men. That video showed Scott walking south on Oak Street when the suspect produced a handgun and shot him, according to the document.
Mayor Sly James issued a statement several hours after the shooting:
“I am absolutely heartbroken for the family members of the victim whose life was taken this morning due to a senseless act of gun violence,” he said. “This devastating incident occurred in broad daylight during rush hour. … These types of events have no place in Kansas City.”
At a City Council public safety committee meeting Wednesday morning, City Councilman Jermaine Reed told police he was concerned that no information had been disseminated to city employees as they were arriving at City Hall for work.
“How do we keep our employees safe?” Reed asked police officers at the committee meeting. “I haven’t heard a thing. … I am concerned about our employees.”
Reed said the incident highlighted the need for quick information to be available to all city employees about nearby shootings or other threats.
Mike Schumacher, assistant to the city manager, noted that a suspect was caught promptly Wednesday and so the concern for employees’ public safety was alleviated. But he said the incident had prompted discussions about how to make city employees quickly aware of possible threats to their safety.