‘Horrific event’: Owner of KCK market is one of two found shot; suspect arrested

Update: Kansas City, Kansas, police said Thursday the second victim in the shooting at Edwards Original Corner Market & Deli was still alive, though in critical condition. Police had earlier said both victims, including the owner, were dead. Owner Dennis Edwards was killed and a woman shot at the store was still alive. The new information is posted here.

Two people, including the owner, were found shot Wednesday afternoon at Edwards Original Corner Market & Deli in Kansas City, Kansas, according to police and family.

Police found the victims after negotiating for hours with a man who had barricaded himself inside the longtime local market.

Once officers were able to take the suspect in custody and make their way inside, they found the two people with gunshots wounds.

Their names were not immediately released by authorities Wednesday, but one of the victims was identified as the store owner, Dennis Edwards, according to David Edwards, a brother of the victim.

Edwards was killed. A woman shot at the store was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Kansas City, Kansas, police said they responded about 3 p.m. to a shooting at the business at 81 North Mill Street.

As arriving officers tried to enter the market, a suspect “appeared and pointed a handgun at officers,” the police department said in a news release.

Officers fired shots at the suspect and exited the market to seek cover.

For two hours, police negotiated with the suspect, an adult man, who had barricaded himself inside. Officers set up a perimeter around the restaurant. An armored vehicle also responded to the scene.

SWAT officers entered the restaurant and took the man into custody before 5:20 p.m. Police said he was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound.

The standoff drew about 20 officers and a large group of onlookers.

Police cleared building to make sure no one else was inside and investigators were collecting evidence Wednesday evening to “figure out what exactly happened here,” said Officer Jonathan Westbrook, a Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department spokesman.

Westbrook said anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477 as the investigation was ongoing.

“Suspect is in custody & has been shot. Also being told we have 2 people dead inside,” Police Chief Terry Zeigler posted in a tweet. “Still working thru this horrific event!”

Store owner identified as a victim

David Edwards told The Star Wednesday night that his brother, Dennis Edwards, was one of two people shot and killed at the family business.

“He was the greatest person in the world,” David Edwards said of his brother. “If you were hungry and needed some food, he’d give it to you.”

David Edwards said he was on his way home from work, about three blocks away, when a neighbor called him about the shooting.

When he arrived and a police officer told him he couldn’t leave, he knew something was wrong.

Soon, he found out what happened.

“I haven’t soaked it all in yet,” he said. “I can’t believe it.”

He knows when it does set in, it will hurt, he said.

In a 2008 photo, Dennis Edwards and his daughter Erika Hochard are pictured. They talked about running the Edwards Original Corner Market together. Dennis Edwards was killed in a shooting Wednesday, his brother said. A second victim has not been identified. Garvey Scott//The Kansas City Star

Lisa Greene, who worked for Edwards and knew him for 20 years, said she was at the deli during the shooting. There were two other women inside, she said.

When the suspect came inside, Greene heard a “pow.” The suspect shot a woman inside, she said, and Greene took cover under a table.

Dennis Edwards ran, though Greene wasn’t sure where exactly. Once the suspect went outside, Greene grabbed her dog and ran out the back door.

“I was shocked,” she said, pacing behind the store Wednesday night. “I was stunned. It just happened so fast.”

The suspect then fired more shots outside, Greene said.

Greene remembered Edwards as a “good dude” and a fair man. She worked for him since he reopened the store.

“He always told people he wanted to make a difference in the neighborhood,” she said. “And he did.”

Market open for over a decade

Edwards Original Corner Market & Deli has been open in Kansas City, Kansas, since 2008 but has a longer history.

Prior to 2008, the market had been closed for several years, until Dennis Edwards got to work.

Edwards told The Star in a 2008 article he planned to reopen the market, which had belonged to his parents for decades. He said his parents ran the market from 1959 to 1985 while the family lived upstairs.

After a major remodel of the 1921 building, the market celebrated a reopening in 2008, offering a small selection of grocery items and a deli. To help re-create the look of the early and mid-20th century, he bought several antiques to decorate the market, adding old sewing equipment, cookware, signs, a hand-crank telephone and a functioning 1942 Coca-Cola machine.

Photos posted to Facebook in May show the inside of the store with shelves packed with snacks, hygiene items, Styrofoam plates and cups, canned foods and an older-style refrigerator advertising “Crisp and cold fresh vegetables.” A few small tables sit in front of the deli counter, surrounded by oak flooring.

Edwards told The Star before opening the market that customers would be walking on the same oak floor his father walked on years ago.

“If you put enough hard work and effort into it, your dream will pay off,” Edwards said at the time. “Real estate is OK, but when it comes to passion — it’s back to the store. I don’t plan on moving from here. I plan to die here.”

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.
Katie Moore covers crime and justice issues for The Star. She is a University of Kansas graduate and was previously a reporter in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas.