Crime

Short argument sparks fatal shooting at Independence gas station, owner says

A fatal shooting at an Independence gas station Saturday apparently was sparked by a short argument after a car almost backed into a man entering the store, according to the owner of the business.

The argument between two men ended with one man killed and the other arrested about 2 p.m. at the FavTrip gas station at 10507 E. 23rd St.

Police on Sunday identified the homicide victim as Cahoone N. Littlejohn, 24, of Independence.

The deadly encounter was captured on the gas station's surveillance cameras. The owner, whom The Star is not naming because he is a witness to the shooting, was not present during the incident but watched the video and described on Sunday what he saw.

He said he thought the shooting was senseless and likely could have been avoided.

"It was a short argument," the owner said. "If they leave it at that, that would've been the end of it."

According to the owner, the incident began as one man was backing up a car and almost ran into another man who was headed inside to pay for gas.

"They had a brief argument, but it was over pretty soon," said the owner.

The man who was nearly hit by the car, and who apparently was the shooter, continued inside and paid for his gas.

"He was smiling when he went inside the store like it was no big deal," the owner said.

When he went outside, the men again exchanged words.

The driver of the car punched the man he had nearly backed into, the owner said. The man who was punched pulled out a gun and started shooting.

About eight or 10 shots were fired. The shooter then ran inside the gas station before the clerks could lock the doors.

"He was panicking pretty badly," the owner said. "He was quite shook up as well."

The shooter put the gun on the counter, took out the magazine and told the employees to call 911. He said he thought someone was trying to kill him, the owner said.

When police arrived, the shooter put his hands up and cooperated.

The shooter looked like he was in his early 20s, the owner said. The owner thinks the argument just got out of hand.

"Even if someone punches you, there's no need to take out a gun and start shooting them," the owner said.

The owner said he is concerned about gun violence in the area. He said he has owned the location for 14 years and this is the first time that such an incident has happened there.

Earlier this year, a shooting occurred at the Dollar General store next door, where police shot two men, killing one and injuring the other. Police on Friday cleared the injured man, Mike Becker, of any wrongdoing.

"One thing we are curious about learning is what is causing this and what as a business owner can we do to prevent this kind of thing," the owner said.

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