An early morning gun battle in Kansas City on Sunday left seven people injured, but the police chief said they are lucky there were not more victims, as the incident was a rolling shootout between at least two vehicles spanning eight city blocks.
According to the Kansas City Police Department, officers were working the scene of a homicide when a call came in about shots fired near Gregory and Prospect streets around 2:18 a.m. Police Chief Darryl Forté told The Kansas City Star that while the area is home to a number of upstanding citizens and business owners, it’s also well-known to law enforcement, as it’s a hot spot for drugs and other illegal activity at night.
Officers arrived on the scene almost immediately and witnessed multiple suspects exchanging gunfire. One officer, fearing for their safety, fired at the suspects. During this time, three vehicles were involved in an accident as a result of the gunfire.
Officers secured the scene of the accident, during which time the gun battle continued for several minutes. Officers then realized the shootout had turned to a rolling gun battle and called for assistance from surrounding law enforcement agencies.
When the shooting finally stopped, seven people had been shot. The victims were transported to the hospital. Six were treated and released, while one remained in serious condition as of Monday. No officers were injured.
“This incident endangered the lives of hundreds of people,” Forté said. “Much of the rolling gun battle took place on residential streets. It covered eight square blocks. Numerous houses were struck with bullets, and it is incredibly fortunate that no one inside them was hurt.”
Forté pointed out that the gunfire continued even after officers arrived on the scene and attempted to offer assistance to those who had already been shot.
“Those firing these shots had no regard for the life or safety of others,” he said.
However, Forté also noted that the altercation didn’t arise out of nowhere.
“Someone knew a dispute was brewing, and they didn’t tell us. Someone had to see at least one of these suspects angry and armed, and no one called until the bullets started flying,” he said. “Police alone cannot stop this violence. We need your help to intervene.”
Forté reiterated the importance of residents keeping communication open with law enforcement and vice versa.
“One of the best things we can do is build these relationships, so when we do have something brewing they’ll call us beforehand,” he said.
Forté assured those responsible for the awful act of violence, if captured, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“I just know I am very proud of everyone who responded, and the residents of Kansas City should be, as well,” Forté concluded.
A car believed to be used during the shootout was recovered, but although numerous people have been questioned, there are no suspects in custody at this time.