Crime

Prosecutors: Man found nude, high on PCP killed two people after minivan rap battle

Robert Townsend is accused of shooting several people in a minivan Monday evening, killing two.
Robert Townsend is accused of shooting several people in a minivan Monday evening, killing two. Kansas City Police Department

The man was nude, wearing only socks and seemingly high on PCP when Kansas City police found him near Blue Parkway and Bennington Avenue late Monday night. Up the road, a man and a woman were dead in a minivan from gunshot wounds.

Robert Townsend balled his fists and flexed his muscles as police approached, court documents say.

Two other witnesses, one of whom had also been shot and fled to a nearby hotel, said gunfire had erupted inside the van after Townsend and Marquis Clark, 33, fought following a rap battle.

Jackson County prosecutors charged Townsend, 30, with two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree assault and three counts of armed criminal action Wednesday in the deaths of Clark and Shakeisha D. Urassa, 37, both of Kansas City.

According to court records:

Townsend, who was called by his middle name, Jerell, had been riding in the minivan with four other individuals when he began free-style rapping with Clark. An argument ensued.

A woman who was sitting in the front passenger seat said she heard gunshots after Clark “slapped Jerell’s hand.” The minivan careened off the road into a wooded ditch off Blue Parkway.

The woman ran toward the street and eventually found emergency crews that responded to the scene. Another passenger, a man, fled to a nearby Relax Inn after he was shot in the abdomen. The man told officers he had been shot in a car down the street and “everyone was dead.”

He also allegedly told officers that Townsend had started shooting after an argument about rap, and that after the van crashed he had taken the gun away from Townsend and threw it in the bushes.

Police found Clark and Urassa dead inside the van.

Court records show Townsend’s mother confirmed that Townsend was at the scene when she called the homicide unit to ask if her son was among those found dead in the minivan.

Townsend told investigators he was in the minivan, possessed a gun at the time and shot his weapon “because he heard shots,” court records say.

Records state that investigators could find no evidence to support Townsend’s claim that he was shot at first by someone in or outside the van.

Katy Bergen: 816-234-4120, @KatyBergen

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