Police investigate Westport shooting that injured at least six
Christina Fulk searched much of the morning, worried about her brother, Dustin Fulk, one of at least six victims of a shooting early Sunday morning in Westport, Kansas City’s popular entertainment and bar area.
“I think he was shot in the shoulder,” a relieved Christina Fulk said by telephone as she arrived to visit her brother at a hospital.
Christina Fulk posted a photo of her brother on social media, with the caption, “I’m still alive … got shot last night.”
A gunman began firing into a group of people early Sunday, injuring at least six people — one critically.
Officers working on foot saw the gunman fire shots into the group at about 3:20 a.m., according to Capt. Stacey Graves, a spokeswoman for the Kansas City Police Department.
As officers responded to the area, the gunman fled.
No charges in the shootings had been filed as of Sunday afternoon. Despite the violence, Westport was jammed Sunday for the last day of Art Westport, the 36th annual art fair.
“I think people will still keep coming, but it will affect its reputation,” said Joe Crugh, 27, who lives in the Westport area. He was in Westport Sunday for the art fair with his brother, Eric, 28, and friend Miranda Borelli, 27.
“In the daylight, it’s definitely more safe,” Eric Crugh said.
Greg Gillis, 28, was in Westport when the shots were fired. He and four friends had just left the line of food trucks on the south side of Westport Road, and were walking west toward the World Market at 535 Westport Road. It sounded like firecrackers, Gillis said.
“Then we realized there were shooters across from us,” Gillis said.
Gillis and his friends said they believe that two individuals were holding guns, one behind the other. Only one individual was firing, however, from what they could see. The two people with guns, Gillis said, were standing outside the AC Hotel Westport, 560 Westport Road. At least one was firing east up the street.
Gillis and his friends said they heard no argument before the gunfire. They heard at least eight bursts.
“I don’t think they were actually targeting anybody,” Gillis said. “It’s just like they were shooting toward where the crowd was. They were still a block way from where the majority of people were.”
Gillis said that he and his friends took cover near the World Market.
“At first it was just bizarre to us. Then we saw the strobe of gunfire going off,” Gillis said.
As police rushed toward the hotel, the two perpetrators fled toward the hotel parking lot, got in a car that then pulled out onto the Westport Road. One officer fired his weapon at the vehicle.
The driver fled and crashed near 39th Street and Southwest Trafficway. Police arrested two people.
Police said that at least six victims were being treated at hospitals. One was in critical condition. Police said no one was struck by police gunfire.
Clara Michelle Sands was in Westport on Sunday morning, standing around a pizza place, when she heard shots fired.
“I really didn’t see a lot,” Sands said in an interview with The Star through Facebook. “Heard a lot of shots as we were leaving. Everyone just started walking in the opposite direction.”
Her sense of Westport has been altered.
“I think it’s OK during the evening,” Sands said. “That late at night, probably not.”
Gillis said that he and his friends hopped in a cab and left the area as soon a possible. Over many decades, Westport’s reputation has vacillated from safe to dangerous to safe again.
“I always knew it was (dangerous) at certain points,” Gillis said. “But I also knew it had gotten better.”
After this experience, he doesn’t plan to return to Westport for some time.
“Definitely holding off,” Gillis said. “It’s not worth the risk.”