Kansas City Police are pleading with the community to speak up to help stop the violence.
“When there’s about to be violence oftentimes, people know about it,” police spokesman Sgt. Jacob Becchina said at a press conference Friday. “We want people to work with us ahead of time.”
According to police, there have been nine shooting incidents since Aug. 1 with 16 victims and three fatalities.
Hours after the press conference, two were shot Friday on 82nd Terrace and Euclid Avenue; one had non-life threatening injuries, the other is in serious condition.
There was also officer-involved shooting Thursday night in the 4000 block of East 68th Street that injured one.
The shootings have occurred across the city with no apparent trend among incidents or victims. Suspects are in custody for many of the shootings.
The string of violence began Wednesday afternoon when a 43-year-old mother, Bernice Brown, was shot and killed while attempting to break up her son’s fight at 50th Street and Chestnut Avenue.
This week’s shootings came within what was already a violent summer.
In the last 11 days there have been eight homicides in Kansas City, bringing the homicide total for the year to 70. It is still 17 fewer than the total at this time last year.
Police said charges have been filed in five of the eight homicides, a person of interest is in custody in two and there is a detailed description of the believed shooter in the remaining homicide.
This progress, Becchina said, is the result of hard work from the department and help from the community.
Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith said that despite perceived risks of coming forward to report violence, it is necessary.
“This is getting ridiculous,” Smith said Friday. “We have got to decide that we want to bring this violence to an end and work together.”
Last night’s officer-involved shooting and standoff, Smith said, was further reason for concern in the city.
“When we have violence like this against the police we know we’re heading in the wrong direction,” Smith said.
Ronell Bailey, with Ceasefire Kansas City, made similar pleas to the community. He attributed much of the violence to a lack of unity.
“It’s going to take the whole entire community for this to at least slow down,” Bailey said. “Togetherness as far as our community being together and staying strong, that’s what’s going to make a difference.”
The Star’s Tony Rizzo contributed to this story.