Crime

Police shoot carjacking suspect outside Westport church during Sunday morning service

Police shoot carjacking suspect outside Westport church on Sunday morning

Police shot a man suspected in attempted carjackings Sunday morning outside the Redeemer Fellowship church, 3921 Baltimore Ave. Police said the suspect tried to grab an officer's gun.
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Police shot a man suspected in attempted carjackings Sunday morning outside the Redeemer Fellowship church, 3921 Baltimore Ave. Police said the suspect tried to grab an officer's gun.

Kansas City police shot a carjacking suspect Sunday morning outside a church in Westport while services were going on inside.

The shooting occurred shortly after 9:15 a.m. outside the Redeemer Fellowship church at 3921 Baltimore Ave., when the suspect, confronted by police, allegedly tried to grab a police officer’s gun before being shot by a second officer.

The suspect was hospitalized in stable condition and is expected to survive.

The incident began when a security guard reported that someone was trying to carjack people arriving at the nearby Midtown Baptist Temple at 3953 Walnut Street, according to Officer Darin Snapp, a Kansas City Police Department spokesman.

The suspect was reported to have tried to carjack two separate vehicles.

One of the victims, a woman, told church security that the suspect told her he had a gun and tried to get her out of her vehicle.

A security officer at the Baptist Temple called 911 and chased the suspect a few blocks away to the Redeemer Fellowship church. The security officer told police where the suspect was headed.

Kansas City police encountered the suspect in an alley next to the Redeemer Fellowship church and tried to arrest him.

As they did, the suspect tried to grab an officer’s gun and pull it from its holster, Snapp said.

Another officer shot the suspect once.

The suspect was taken to a hospital in stable condition. “He’s expected to live,” Snapp said.

No officers were injured.

Church services were underway inside when the shooting happened, but no bystanders were close to the action, Snapp said. Some witnesses saw it from across the street.

“It’s an alleyway, where there really wasn’t anybody back there. Most of the people who come to church here are parked on (Baltimore Avenue),” Snapp said.

Kansas City police shot a carjacking suspect Sunday morning outside a Westport church as services went on inside. The shooting occurred outside the Redeemer Fellowship church at 3921 Baltimore Ave.

It was unclear if the suspect was armed apart from allegedly trying to grab an officer’s gun, Snapp said.

A police investigation of the shooting was ongoing as police interviewed witnesses and reviewed surveillance video that might have captured the shooting.

While the investigation went on Sunday morning, church services continued inside Redeemer Fellowship.

When churchgoers came outside shortly before 11 a.m., many said they were puzzled to find yellow crime scene tape and police filling the street. They had not heard the shooting, they said.

When the church’s 11 a.m. services started, police allowed churchgoers to enter through the front door while investigators continued to work.

Both police officers involved in the shooting will be on administrative leave pending the outcome of the shooting investigation, as is usual in such cases, Snapp said.

Snapp said officers go through their whole careers “hoping we never have to pull their guns, let alone shoot somebody.”

People confronted by carjackers should comply with their demands, especially if the carjackers say they are armed, Snapp said.

“If you’re going to get robbed, your life is more important than your vehicle or belongings,” he said. “So just do what they say.”

Kansas City police investigated an officer-involved shooting Sunday morning at 39th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.

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