Three men killed by booming gunshots outside Kansas City home

Kansas City police are investigating a triple shooting that left three men dead from what neighbors described as booming gunshots.

Officers were called to the 7100 block of Monroe Avenue just before 1 a.m. Wednesday in response to gunfire. The three men were found inside a car parked outside a residence.

Shattered glass and circle chalk marks were visible in the driveway of the one-story, blue duplex Wednesday morning where the shooting occurred. A black Ford Mustang remained parked in the driveway.

Neighbor Anthony Thompson said he was startled by the gunfire.

“I heard the gunshots and I turned out the kitchen lights,” Thompson said. “I thought it might be somebody was running through the backyard.”

Thompson said he briefly waited in the living room of his house and then went outside. By then police were roping off the area and starting to collect evidence. A parked car had its doors open and three motionless bodies lay inside.

Relatives arrived a short time later and remained at the crime scene for several hours, Thompson said.

“I tried to figure out all night what were they shooting at these people,” he said. “Whatever they were hit with, I imagined they were dead because that’s how loud the gun was.

“The force and the power of the gun, you could feel inside your home. It was like they were in the living room with me.”

A neighbor, who declined to be identified, said she was sound asleep when she heard four booming gunshots.

The woman said her son rushed into her bedroom and said, “Somebody just got killed.”

The victims appeared to be in their 20s.

“It’s such a horrible thing,” the neighbor said.

The woman said she knew the victims just as a neighbor. They had been very respectful to her and helped her at times, she said.

“Lord, how does this happen?” the woman asked. “Three of his children just lost their lives. Some mothers’ sons just got murdered.”

Police had no suspect information to release.

“I know this mother is upset,” the neighbor said of herself. She didn’t want to imagine if it had been her son who had been shot.

The last homicide in the neighborhood occurred in January 2012. Police found Cornell Maxwell, 54, stabbed to death inside his home at 71st Street and Monroe Avenue.

The neighborhood is made up of working-class families with children, a neighbor said. Children use the street to get to the nearby bus stop at the top of the hill.

The street is lined with duplexes, many with bars on their windows and alarm company signs staked in the front yards. Most of the lawns are neatly kept and have been recently mowed.

The house where the triple homicide took place is a few houses down from a weathered sign announcing that the area is protected by neighborhood watch volunteers.

By mid-morning, the neighborhood was quiet, except for the distant rumble of lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Every now and then cars slowly rolled past the house as people inside looked at the home where they knew a triple homicide took place hours earlier.

To see an interactive panorama of the neighborhood, click here.

Earlier this week, Interim Police Chief David Zimmerman said the department is looking at ways to combat the surge of violent gun crimes in recent months.

“We will be deploying some of our assets that are flexible and we are looking forward to getting that fully implemented,” Zimmerman said at a community meeting in southeast Kansas City. “Hopefully, it will have some impact on violent crime, especially in certain areas in the city. We are constantly looking at ways to try to retool what we are doing.”

So far this year, there have been 60 homicides in 2017. There were 45 homicides reported during the same period this time a year ago.

Anyone with information about the triple homicide is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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