Police are investigating a shooting near the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, following a high school graduation ceremony there.
The church posted on its Facebook page that the shooting occurred in the parking lot at the ceremony for south Kansas City's Center High School. "One person has been taken to the hospital with injuries not believed to be life threatening," the post stated.
Center High had scheduled ceremonies at the church beginning at 7 p.m. The shooting happened around 8:20 p.m., about the time off-duty officers heard of a fight erupting in the parking lot.
Leawood Police Capt. Brad Robbins said the victim was a Center High School student who had just graduated.
“This (was) a wonderful evening, a cause for celebration for these young people passing the milestone of high school and it’s been interrupted by violence," Robbins said. "We want to get to the bottom of it.”
“The officers went outside and found the fight had broken up, but while they were standing outside, they heard a volley of shots — an undetermined number — off to the east side toward Roe Avenue," Robbins said.
"The officers moved to that area and were alerted that there was a victim, a teenage male, who had been hit by one of the rounds and was lying on the sidewalk here near 137th Street.”
He was taken to a local trauma center and conscious when he was transported. They believe the victim was an innocent bystander.
Several suspect vehicles fled the scene, he said.
“Right now, we’re still trying to sort out who may have been actual suspects and who were just people caught in the crossfire, fleeing out of fear," Robbins said. "We know there’s a lot of people out there who may have seen something that didn’t have a chance to tell the officers here on the scene.”
He encouraged them to call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
Minutes after the shooting, Overland Park police were in high-speed pursuit of a vehicle with a window shot out, according to radio communications. The chase, which began near the church around 135th Street and Nall Avenue, involved a Dodge Durango that raced east into Missouri at 119th Street. At that point, police lost sight of the vehicle.
There was no official word if the chase and shooting were related.
“Nobody is in custody,” Robbins said late Thursday.