A Jackson County jury convicted a 24-year-old man Thursday of murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of another man last spring at a Kansas City water park.
Divonte L. Lewis fatally shot Ryshun Bell, 19, on May 16, 2015, during a child’s birthday party at the CoCo Key Water Resort. The water park is connected to the Adam’s Mark Hotel at Interstate 70 and Blue Ridge Cutoff.
During closing arguments, Lewis’ defense attorney said his client shot Bell because Lewis feared for his life.
But prosecutors told jurors that Lewis killed Bell after a loud argument in the water park’s pool area.
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A woman at the party had asked Lewis and several others to leave. Lewis was angry because several adults were attending without children. Lewis displayed a black handgun that he kept his waistband.
When one participant tried to leave, Lewis and several others followed. Another argument occurred at the main entrance and foyer area, said Chris Accurso, an assistant Jackson County prosecutor.
During that altercation, Lewis brandished the handgun and fired several shots at the men, striking Bell.
“You don’t get to end a verbal argument with someone by shooting and killing them,” Accurso told jurors.
Following the shooting, a witness saw three men run past him and into the wooded area east of the water park.
Bell was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Defense attorney Carl Bussey said his client doesn’t deny shooting at Bell but did so to defend himself. Bell was armed with a handgun that had an extended clip that could hold up to 22 bullets.
“What action should he have taken?” Bussey asked jurors. “Lewis acted in sudden passion because he felt that his life was in danger.”
Lewis is scheduled to be sentenced July 29.