Crime

After Wal-Mart attack in Shawnee, second assailant still sought

A man arrested Sunday in an attack at a Shawnee Wal-Mart was released after police questioned him and determined he was not involved.

Several teams of police officers were back on the case Monday working leads in the search for a second suspect in an incident that left one attacker dead, a woman injured and a Good Samaritan shot.

The dead attacker, who was shot by a separate Good Samaritan, was identified as 28-year-old John W. Simmons III of Kansas City.

The woman who was attacked Sunday in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Shawnee was a 39-year-old Kansas City, Kan., resident. Police said Monday she had been released from the hospital.

The Good Samaritan who was shot when he intervened to help her was a 33-year-old Kansas City man. He had surgery Sunday night and remained in the hospital in serious condition Monday, said Shawnee police spokesman Maj. Dan Tennis.

Police said the woman was attacked about 1:30 p.m. Sunday as she was putting her infant in a car seat after shopping at the store near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road. Two people approached and the woman was struck on the head, police said. A Good Samaritan who tried to help her was shot and critically wounded by one of the attackers. At that point the second Good Samaritan, a 36-year-old De Soto man, came forward and shot one of the attackers.

Police said Monday the woman who was assaulted did not know her attackers.

Police also said the first Good Samaritan was not armed. The second Good Samaritan was interviewed and released.

According to Missouri court records, a person whom Simmons had a child in common with filed a protective order against him in December 2013. Simmons was ordered to stay away from and refrain from communicating with the petitioner.

According to online federal court records, a man named John W. Simmons III, of the same age as the man killed, was under indictment in U.S. District Court in Western Missouri with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, with having a firearm while trafficking drugs and with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Soon after the attack, officers with a K9 unit located and arrested a man east of the store and said he was suspected of being the second attacker. Tennis said he fit the description from witnesses and he was located in the area. But on Monday police said they did not believe he was involved in the attack. He was released later Sunday.

“The man who was arrested yesterday shortly after this incident has been determined not to be involved in the crime,” according to a police statement. “Currently several teams of police officers are working on leads.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Tips TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477 or Shawnee police at 913-631-2150.

The Star’s Katy Bergen contributed to this report.

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC

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