The July Fourth weekend turned violent early Saturday in the Kansas City area, and the killing continued Sunday.
By Sunday afternoon, seven people were dead in six separate shootings, pushing Kansas City’s homicide total above 70. Three died in Kansas City — including a double homicide — and four in Kansas City, Kan. Six of the victims were found over a period of a little more than 24 hours.
Police did not link any of the incidents, and Kansas City, Kan., Police Chief Terry Zeigler said the first three killings in that city appeared to be unrelated. The fourth was still under investigation Sunday afternoon.
The first victim was found by Kansas City, Kan., police about 1:15 a.m Saturday: a man in his 40s dead from several gunshot wounds in a home in the 4300 block of Lloyd Street. Police said Saturday they suspected domestic violence — a person fled the home before officers arrived.
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A neighbor said she was surprised to hear of the shooting.
“It’s normally pretty quiet,” Zholie Stiff, who has lived in the neighborhood for about six years, said Sunday. “We have a lot of working families who live in this neighborhood — a couple KU Med students.”
“I was pretty shocked because it hasn’t happened this close to home before,” Stiff said.
Over the next day and night, shootings claimed several more lives.
Later Saturday, Kansas City, Kan., police found a man in his 20s dead from a gunshot wound about 6:45 p.m. near First Street and Walker Avenue.
About 9:30 p.m. in Kansas City, police found a man in a car dead from apparent gunshot wounds in the 1600 block of East 80th Street.
A half-hour later and eight miles to the north, Kansas City police found two men shot in the street at 28th Terrace and Myrtle Avenue. Paramedics were unable to save the men.
At a media event near the scene of that killing, Sgt. Kari Thompson, a Kansas City police spokeswoman, was joined by Rosilyn Temple of KC Mothers in Charge and Pat Clarke, a community activist.
The three called for the city’s violence to stop — Thompson said Kansas City had surpassed 70 homicides so far in 2017, and that the city had counted 50 this time the previous year.
At the site of the shooting Sunday, blood remained on the street, along with about 20 chalk circles marking where police had found evidence — most likely shell casings.
Shortly before 3 a.m., three people with gunshot wounds were dropped of at the Kansas City Police Department’s South Patrol station. All three were taken to hospitals with life-threatening injuries. Police located the crime scene in the 9300 block of Bales Avenue.
Temple spent Sunday morning at a hospital with the family of a young man who had been shot hours earlier and was headed into surgery. Temple said the shootings, one after another, were overwhelming.
“The Police Department cannot be running from one crime scene to another 30 minutes later,” she said. “We’re on a path to destruction.”
Kansas City has seen a spike in homicides over the past three years, after hitting a historic low of 82 in 2014. The overall trend over the past two decades has been a long-term decline in homicides from a peak of violence in the 1990s.
Early Sunday morning, the shooting continued in Kansas City, Kan.
About 3:40 a.m. three men in their 20s riding in a vehicle in the 300 block of Waverly Avenue were shot at by unknown people. One was killed and another injured.
Twelve hours later, Kansas City, Kan., police responded to another fatal shooting, this one outside a laundromat in the 4800 block of Parallel Parkway. Police said a man was getting laundry out of his vehicle when three men approached and began shooting. He was dead on the ground when police arrived.
Zeigler, the Kansas City, Kan., police chief, said he urged citizens to avoid resorting to violence in resolving their disputes.
“It being a holiday weekend, that makes it even worse,” Zeigler said. “When the temperature goes up, it does seem to increase the violence. People get hot, they get irritated.
“We hope everyone in the community will keep their cool,” Zeigler said. “If you do get upset, try to walk away.”
Kansas City, Kan., has counted at least 18 homicides this year.
Police asked anyone with information about the homicides to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
Staff writers Shane Sanderston, Kyle Brown, Glenn E. Rice and Matt Campbell contributed to this report.