A barrage of gun violence from Friday to Monday morning in the Kansas City area left six victims dead and several others with gunshot wounds.
Four cities saw homicides:
▪ Kansas City police are investigating three homicides that happened between late Friday and Sunday afternoon. Police were called to the 5500 block of Paseo about 9:50 p.m. Friday; police found Warren Jackson III, 23, of Kansas City, with a gunshot wound. He died hours later at a hospital. Darrious Smith, 22, of Kansas City, was one of two victims found with apparent gunshot wounds about 4:20 a.m. Saturday in the 2600 block of East 29th Street. And at 4:30 p.m Sunday, police called to the 6600 block of the Paseo found a woman, thought to be in her 40s, dead.
Detectives are also investigating the suspicious death of a man who was found Saturday by a group of relatives looking for Jessica Runions, who has been missing since September.
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▪ Leavenworth police reported that Gary Frantz, 54, died at a hospital after being shot multiple times late Friday in the 400 block of South Esplanade Street. Police identified a 50-year-old woman as a possible suspect in the shooting, and she was later arrested in Burlingame, Kan. She was returned to Leavenworth County over the weekend and has been charged with first-degree murder.
▪ And Monday morning, Independence were called to the scene of the city’s second homicide in the 600 block of North Peck Court.
Three cities also reported gun violence in which victims did not die.
Kansas City police reported several nonfatal shootings over the weekend, including several people who were wounded when at least six gunmen opened fire outside a night club in south Kansas City.
Two people were arrested Saturday night following a rolling gun battle at 27th Street and Lathrop Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. No one was injured.
In Lenexa, a man on Saturday afternoon allegedly fired shots into a vehicle occupied by three people, including a 12-year-old girl. No one was hurt in that incident.
While Kansas City has seen 13 homicides in January, Kansas City, Kan., has yet to record a homicide in 2017.
The six months through January is the worst stretch in Kansas City for homicides in 23 years. If such a pace were to continue for a full year, it would shatter the city’s 1993 homicide record of 153 killings.
But Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said the weekend gunfire is not worst he has seen in his decades as a police officer.
“I recall many similar weekends in Kansas City since joining the Police Department in 1985,” Forte said. “In fact, there were six homicides committed within 24 hours on the weekend my best friend (Anthony Carlos Richardson) was killed, November 2011.”
Very little has changed in nearly 50 years. In 1969, there were 116 homicides reported in Kansas City. That was the first year since 1920 when the homicide totals exceeded 100. There have been only 12 times that the city had fewer than 100 homicides for a year, Forté said.
“What we need to do as a community is when we know people are out of control and are having issues, we need to reach for them,” he said. “It is not for the police to reach out.”
Forté said someone always knows something before a tragic event occurs. “They are not surprised, but very few people intervene beforehand.”
Over the weekend, Forté announced on Twitter that he was willing to meet with anyone or any group who could offer suggestions on how to reduce crime in Kansas City. Forté said that he wasn’t looking to meet with groups who try to sell their ideas or individuals who want to express their opinion about violence.
“The community must engage as well as understand that blaming others is not the solution,” he said. “So we must become part of the solution by contributing whatever talents we may to break the cycle of violence in our community.”
By Monday, more than a dozen groups and individuals had already responded to his message. Some already operate mentoring programs or work with those who have been in jail.
The first of those meetings are expected to begin Tuesday, he said.
The vast majority of violent crime in Kansas City occurs in an isolated stretch of the urban core. In many cases, the killings happen when individuals are unable to resolve their conflicts and resort to violence, Forté said.
“When you look at the ones that we know about, for the whole year, and if you analyze them, there is not a single thing the police could have done to stop these homicides,” Forté said. “They’re not something on the street where someone is coming up and we didn’t act. It is a lot bigger issue than the police. It is a much broader and larger scope than the police can handle.
“People expect us to control the behavior of people we don’t even know.”
The Star’s Donna McGuire contributed to this report.