People who live on the ninth floor of a building at Ninth Street and Baltimore Avenue in downtown Kansas City were just about home a few minutes after midnight Sunday when they heard fire crackers or gunshots.
Entering their loft, they found three windows shot out and a bullet lodged in the drywall of their bedroom. There were three more bullet hits in the brick exterior of the building.
Theirs was just one of 156 reports to Kansas City police of shots fired just after midnight Jan. 1, the result of people who felt the need to shoot a firearm to celebrate the new year. Theirs was the fourth police report taken in Kansas City in 2017.
Police are getting really tired of this.
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“For 10 to 15 minutes after midnight (on New Year’s), it sounds like a war zone,” said Sgt. Mike Foster of the property crimes division at the Kansas City Police Central Patrol, adding that it puts officers on edge.
There were eight reports of property damage believed to be caused by celebratory gunfire on New Year’s night in the Central Patrol alone.
Many, if not most, celebratory shooters fire up into the sky, but those bullets still have to come down somewhere. Eleven-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane was killed by such a bullet on the Fourth of July in 2011, in east Kansas City. The man convicted in her death, Aaron Sullivan, served 18 months in prison.
In the case of the loft shooting, however, the bullets came from a high-powered rifle at a more or less straight angle, leading police to believe they originated from another high rise about 400 yards away. Foster said police are still investigating, but they have witnesses and have identified a person of interest.
“It could have been ugly,” Foster said. “They might have been having fun, but what they did was really dumb. It was dangerous. We’re really investigating this. We’re taking this case seriously. We’re going to bring somebody in and find out why they did this.”
Foster suggests that next New Year’s, people pop a bottle of bubbly instead of popping off a gun.
“Don’t do it,” he said. “It’s not worth it.”