Monday, April 15, 2024

Children among 22 hit by gunfire at Chiefs’ parade; 1 person dead

“I’m angry at what happened today. The people who came to this celebration should expect a safe environment.”

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By Heather Hollingsworth and Nick Ingram

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eight children were among 22 people hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of Wednesday’s parade to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl win, authorities said, as terrified fans ran for cover and yet another high-profile public event was marred by gun violence. One person was killed, identified by her radio station as a DJ.

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Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves detailed the shooting’s toll at a news conference and said three people had been taken into custody. She said she has heard that fans may have been involved in apprehending a suspect but couldn’t immediately confirm that.

“I’m angry at what happened today. The people who came to this celebration should expect a safe environment.” Graves said. Police did not immediately release any details about the people taken into custody or about a possible motive for the shootings. She said firearms had been recovered, but not what kind of weapons were used.

People take cover during a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.
People take cover during a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire /Getty Images

“There’s a lot of work ahead. This is just the beginning stages,” she said. “All of that is being actively investigated.”

It is the latest sports celebration in the U.S. to be marred by gun violence, following a shooting that injured several people last year in downtown Denver after the Nuggets’ NBA championship, and gunfire last year at a parking lot near the Texas Rangers’ World Series championship parade.

Social media users posted shocking video of police running through a crowded scene as people hurriedly scrambled for cover and fled. One video showed someone apparently performing chest compressions on a shooting victim as another person, seemingly writhing in pain, lay on the ground nearby. People screamed in the background.

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Law enforcement responds to a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Law enforcement responds to a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire /Getty Images

Another video showed two people chase and tackle a person, holding them down until two police officers arrived.

Radio station KKFI said in a Facebook post Wednesday evening that DJ Lisa Lopez, host of “Taste of Tejano,” was killed in the shooting.

“This senseless act has taken a beautiful person from her family and this KC Community,” KKFI said in a statement.

The shooting outside Union Station happened despite more than 800 police officers who were in the building and around the area, including on top of nearby buildings, said Mayor Quinton Lucas, who attended with his wife and mother and had to run for cover when gunfire broke out.

“I think that’s something that all of us who are parents, who are just regular people living each day, have to decide what we wish to do about,” Lucas said. “Parades, rallies, schools, movies. It seems like almost nothing is safe.”

Kansas City has long struggled with gun violence, and in 2020 it was among nine cities targeted by the U.S. Justice Department in an effort to crack down on violent crime. In 2023 the city matched a record with 182 homicides, most of which involved guns.

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People flee after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri.
People flee after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS /AFP via Getty Images

Lucas has joined with mayors across the country in calling for new laws to reduce gun violence, including mandating universal background checks.

Lisa Money, a resident of the city, was trying to gather some confetti near the end of the parade when she heard somebody yell, “Down, down, everybody down!”

At first Money thought somebody might be joking until she saw the SWAT team jumping over the fence.

“I can’t believe it really happened. Who in their right mind would do something like this? This is supposed to be a day of celebration for everybody in the city and the surrounding area. and then you’ve got some idiot that wants to come along and do something like this,” she said.

Kansas City Chiefs players celebrate on stage during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City Chiefs players celebrate on stage during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire /Getty Images

Kevin Sanders, 53, of Lenexa, Kansas, said he heard what sounded like firecrackers and then people started running. After that initial flurry, calm returned, and he didn’t think much of it. But 10 minutes later, ambulances started showing up.

“It sucks that someone had to ruin the celebration, but we are in a big city,” Sanders said.

University Health spokeswoman Nancy Lewis said the hospital was treating eight gunshot victims. Two were in critical condition and six were in stable condition, she said. The hospital also was treating four people for other injuries resulting from the chaos after the shooting, Lewis said.

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Lisa Augustine, spokesperson for Children’s Mercy Kansas City, said the hospital was treating 12 patients from the rally, including 11 children, some of whom suffered gunshot wounds.

St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City received one gunshot patient in critical condition and three walk-ins with injuries that were not life-threatening, spokesperson Laurel Gifford said.

People flee after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri.
People flee after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS /AFP via Getty Images

“When you have this many casualties, it’s going to get spread out among a lot of hospitals so that you don’t overwhelm any single ER,” she said.

Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said that he was with coach Andy Reid and other coaches and staff members at the time of the shooting, and that the team was on buses and returning to Arrowhead Stadium.

“We are truly saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred outside of Union Station at the conclusion of today’s parade and rally,” the team said in a statement.

Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson and first lady Teresa Parson were at the parade during the gunfire but were unhurt. “Thanks to the professionalism of our security officers and first responders, Teresa and I and our staff are safe and secure,” Parson said in a statement.

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Police respond after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Police respond after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS /AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting and will continue to receive updates, a White House spokesperson said. White House officials were in touch with state and local leaders, and federal law enforcement was on the scene supporting their local counterparts.

Areas that had been filled with crowds were empty after the shooting, with police and firefighters standing and talking behind an area restricted by yellow tape.

People flee after shots were fired at Union Station near the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri.
People flee after shots were fired at Union Station near the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS /AFP via Getty Images

Throngs had lined the route earlier, with fans climbing trees and street poles or standing on rooftops for a better view. Players rolled through the crowd on double-decker buses, as DJs and drummers heralded their arrival. Owner Clark Hunt was on one of the buses, holding the Lombardi Trophy.

The city and the team each chipped in around $1 million for the event commemorating Travis Kelce, Mahomes and the Chiefs becoming the first team since Tom Brady and the New England Patriots two decades ago to defend their title.

After decades without a championship, the city has gained experience with victory parades. Five seasons ago the Chiefs defeated the 49ers for the team’s first Super Bowl championship in 50 years. That followed the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series in 2015, the city’s first baseball championship in 30 years.

Then last year the Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 and prophetically vowed they would be back for more.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Associated Press writers Scott McFetridge in Des Moines, Iowa; Jim Salter in St. Louis; Josh Funk in Omaha, Nebraska; Summer Ballentine in Columbia, Missouri; and John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, contributed to this report.

Police patrol after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Police patrol after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS /AFP via Getty Images
Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy as their bus arrives at the victory rally in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.
Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy as their bus arrives at the victory rally in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. Photo by Reed Hoffmann /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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