Woman at DMV in Kansas City started shooting because line was too slow, police say

Update: A Kansas City woman has been charged in this incident. That new story is posted here.

A woman upset that the line wasn’t moving fast enough at a DMV licensing office in Kansas City’s Northland allegedly pulled out a gun and fired shots outside, police and witnesses said.

Platte County sheriff’s deputies and Kansas City police rushed to the Parkville License Office about 11:25 a.m. after receiving reports of shots being fired by woman armed with a gun. Arriving officers took the woman into custody as she was getting into her car in the parking lot.

Patricia Zick, a witness, said the woman came into the licensing office and saw there was a large crowd — mothers with babies, the elderly with walkers and others waiting patiently.

The woman became very belligerent, using foul language, Zick said.

“Something was wrong, I don’t know what it is — drugs, mental or whatever — but she just insisted on getting taken care of immediately,” Zick said. “The president’s security was in danger, she said.”

Zick was uncertain what the woman needed, but the woman insisted that the workers call their boss, who was not there.

One worker said she was going to call police and the woman responded that she had better not.

“It will take longer,” the woman said.

The exchange between workers and the woman went on for about 10 minutes and others inside the licensing office were becoming irritated because they were losing their time.

The woman then said she’d take care of it and walked out, Zick said.

Zick followed the woman to get her license plate number. As the woman was walking away, she started digging in her purse. She then pulled out a gun and shot into the air.

“That’s when we all ran,” said Zick, who tried every door handle of businesses in the area before she ended up finding her way into a dentist office.

“We all ran into the building and they were scooting us out the back door,” she said. “We didn’t know if she was coming back in or she had more ammunition or she had been on the phone calling a friend to come back up or what was going on.”

The woman allegedly fired a couple rounds into a mulch bed outside the license bureau, said Major Erik Holland, a spokesman for the Platte County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re still early on in the investigation, but it is to my understanding that she didn’t make it into the DMV,” Holland said. “People saw the gun before she got in. The doors were locked and she fired the shots before she got into the DMV.”

Authorities were still gathering statements from witnesses.

A witness, Kathy Coulter, said she had just pulled into a bank near the office at 6400 N. Cosby Avenue when she saw three police cars speed around the corner into the parking lot.

The officers “jumped out and jumped a woman who was trying to get into her car,” Coulter said. “They took her down and handcuffed her right away.”

Firefighters and an ambulance responded to the licensing office and took the woman who was said to have been armed to a hospital as a precaution.

No one else was injured in the incident.

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Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.
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.