Crime

KC man accused in 2014 shooting death of 6-year-old Angel Hooper found guilty

Jackson County jurors found Howard K. Chase IV guilty of second-degree murder and other charges relating to the 2014 killing of 6-year-old Angel Hooper in front of a 7-Eleven.
Jackson County jurors found Howard K. Chase IV guilty of second-degree murder and other charges relating to the 2014 killing of 6-year-old Angel Hooper in front of a 7-Eleven.

Jackson County jurors on Monday convicted the second of two men accused in connection with the October 2014 shooting death of Angel Hooper.

Jurors convicted Howard K. Chase IV of second-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon in the trial that lasted more than a week. No sentencing date has been set.

Angel, 6, and her father had gone to the 7-Eleven at 10615 Blue Ridge Blvd. on Oct. 17, 2014. Someone in a passing car fired multiple gunshots into the crowded parking lot toward the store as Angel and her father walked out. She was the only person hit.

Angel later died at a nearby hospital. Her death outraged residents and community leaders.

“We are grateful for the jury’s attention to this case,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Monday. “Angel Hooper should be remembered as a completely innocent life taken from her family and the Kansas City community.”

The shooting was the culmination of events that began hours earlier when two women met to fight in the middle of the street at 72nd Street and Indiana Avenue, prosecutors said during closing arguments Monday.

The altercation was recorded on cellphone video.

Chase was at the scene of the fight and was among several others armed with guns. One of the participants in the fight later told police that as she left in a black Mazda, one of the passengers in the car fired a shot in the air.

Later that night, the Mazda was found peppered with bullet holes and abandoned on the side of the road, according to court records. When detectives tracked down the owner, they were told the car had been shot as it pulled into the parking lot of the 7-Eleven where Angel was killed.

Witnesses at the scene of the shooting reported that shots had been fired from a white Pontiac Grand Prix.

Prosecutors told jurors Monday that witnesses were reluctant to come forward because they did not want to be labeled a snitch.

Defense attorney Dan Ross said there was little evidence to support prosecutors’ claim that his client participated in the shooting. Ross showed jurors three separate video clips of the fight between the two women. The video showed Chase walking away. It also showed that Chase was not armed.

Angel was a first-grader at Symington Elementary School who “loved to laugh, make good grades and play” with her 1-year-old brother, Michael Hooper, according to relatives.

In February, Leandre Smith was sentenced to 23 years in prison after pleading guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action.

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar

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