Crime

Security guards with Overland Park firm murder man in car outside KC bar, police say

Two security guards with an Overland Park-based private firm have been charged in a fatal shooting outside a Kansas City bar.

Christopher L. Jones, 37, and Markell Pinkins, 22, were charged with second-degree murder in Jackson County Circuit Court. The charges stem from a disturbance outside the Yum Yum Bar & Grill at 24th and Van Brunt streets.

Kevin Thomas, 45, died at a hospital after the guards shot him as he sat in his car, according to charging documents filed by Kansas City police.

Pinkins and Jones, who both worked for the private firm Force One Security and Consulting, were stationed at Yum Yum’s front door on Jan. 29.

Pinkins told police he heard a “boom” and observed the victim’s car strike a parked vehicle on 24th Street.

The two security guards ran across the street, but both later acknowledged to police that they lacked the authority to handle incidents off the bar’s premises, according to the documents.

A witness said a passenger from Thomas’ car exited and said Thomas was drunk. The witness also told police he was unsure why the guards approached with their weapons drawn.

The guards repeatedly asked Thomas to turn off the car and to get out of the vehicle, according to the documents.

Thomas said, “I’m going that way,” the witness said, and then his car inched forward “not even a foot” before the guards opened fire.

A second witness gave a similar account.

Jones fired three times through the windshield, and Pinkins fired through the open driver-side window, police said. Officers recovered five spent shell casings from the scene.

Pinkins told police he told Jones to render aid to Thomas after they shot him. He also asked Jones to handcuff him.

Police found Thomas lying handcuffed in the street next to his car.

When reached by phone Wednesday night, an employee with Force One declined to comment.

Pinkins said Thomas revved his engine and that he was wedged between Thomas’ car and a parked car. But police wrote that surveillance footage revealed Pinkins was actually on the other side of Thomas’ car and the video “did not support aggressive movement of the victim’s vehicle prior to guards discharging their firearms.”

Jones argued he fired in self-defense because the victim “drove toward him.”

But initially, Jones told police he didn’t fire his weapon. After the shooting, Jones asked a third man now facing criminal charges to hide the gun.

Leon Arthur Kirk Doniphan is charged with tampering with physical evidence. Police contacted him and he eventually told officers he hid the gun at the bar, according to the documents.

Jones said he tried to conceal the gun because he’s not licensed to carry in Missouri.

Jones’ right to carry a firearm was revoked in 2006 after he impersonated an officer and made a false police report, according to the documents.

Jones’ and Pinkins’ bonds were set at $200,000. Doniphan’s was set at $5,000.

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