As chairwoman of the Kansas City Council’s Public Safety Committee, Councilwoman Alissia Canady is used to discussing violent crime and the impact it has on the city. But she found herself right in the midst of a rolling gunbattle in a residential area Tuesday evening, something she’s never experienced before.
“It was very disturbing,” she told her committee on Wednesday. “It definitely puts a different face on dealing with violence and gun violence in our community, because no one’s exempt.”
Canady said she had just pulled into the parking lot outside a corner store at 57th Street and Swope Parkway right before 8 p.m. when she heard gunfire.
“I looked up and saw everybody in front of the store hit the ground,” she told The Star. She ducked down in her car until she thought the shooting had stopped. But then as she looked up again, she saw a car zoom past her with a guy “chasing another car, firing into the other vehicle” on 57th Street. “Literally the distance of one car, flying by me firing shots into another vehicle. ... A kid hanging out the rear driver’s door, from the back seat, firing shots into another car. And they were driving recklessly through the neighborhood.”
Fortunately, Canady said, she wasn’t injured, nor were any of the bystanders at the store. But she saw children and other people nearby, in what was a residential area, and it was scary.
“I have never experienced anything like that in my life,” said Canady, who is a former Jackson County assistant prosecutor. “When you go to the store you don’t expect to experience anything like that.”
She said she couldn’t describe the cars or the people in them but just knew there were “a lot” of gunshots.
Canady is a member of a citizens’ anti-violence task force that, after a year of study, plans to issue recommendations Thursday on how to confront homicides and other violence in the city. But she said she’s not sure of any ready solution for this type of rolling gunbattle.
“That’s totally unacceptable, inexcusable,” she said, adding that she couldn’t fathom what could prompt such behavior or how to halt it.
Canady said police responded quickly to the incident. The police said they are investigating an aggravated assault. The police report said the victim was a passenger in a vehicle near 58th and Swope Parkway when he heard sounds of shots and was subsequently struck by an apparent bullet and was taken to an area hospital. The victim’s injuries were non-life-threatening.
Star reporter Glenn E. Rice contributed to this report.