Suspect dead, Kansas City police officer in emergency surgery following shooting
Suspect dead, Kansas City police officer in emergency surgery following shooting

Andrea Klick, Katie Moore, And Glenn E. Rice
The Kansas City Star

A Kansas City police officer was in emergency surgery and a suspect is dead following a shooting Thursday evening.

The officer was shot in the head and taken to Truman Medical Center after the shooting started just before 5 p.m. Thursday near 31st Street and Van Brunt Boulevard, police said. A suspect has died, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe said.

Highway patrol officers said police were called to a McDonald’s where the suspect was waving a gun. Police chased the suspect when he fled on foot. The suspect turned and opened fire on the officers, striking one. A second officer fired back, highway patrol officers said. Lowe said police believe there was only one suspect.

The officer, who has been with the department about 2 1/2 years, was still in surgery and in critical condition around 7:20 p.m., Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith said.

“We talk about the violence in this town,” Smith said. “We can see where this is headed.

“As we had to go get a mother and bring her to the hospital today, the first words out of her mouth were ‘I’m angry about all this violence in this city.’

“I hope, I plead that everyone hears those words, and we work 10 times harder than we’re working today on violence in this city.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas said he was “heartbroken and disgusted” by recent incidents of violence in the city.

“Four-year-olds, police officers everyone. It is unsafe right now,” Lucas told The Star by phone. “This has been a season of lawlessness in our city, and it needs to stop.”

Lucas also tweeted his support for the police following news that the officer was in critical condition.

“The women and men of our department are dedicated to this city,” he wrote. “Always have been. Always will be. We owe them our prayers tonight and our thanks and our resolve—all of us—to call out those who are terrorizing so many in our community.”

The incident was the second police shooting Thursday in Kansas City. Earlier in the day, another KCPD officer was shot, along with two others, after an alleged robbery in northeast Kansas City. According to Lowe, a Ride KC bus driver called police after she witnessed a robbery around 10:35 a.m. and saw the suspect board her bus.

Lowe said the suspect shot an officer who tried to enter the back of the bus near the intersection of Independence and Hardesty avenues. The suspect also shot the bus driver before another officer shot the suspect. The officer was treated and released from a hospital, police said. Lowe said the bus driver had non-life-threatening injuries.

“There’s been a lot of talk about what we do and why we do it,” Lowe told reporters near the scene of the second shooting Thursday. “We put ourselves at risk everyday with the possibility of something like this happening and when it does, it really hits home. But we still have a job to do, to make sure that there are no more threats to the community.”

Lowe said the officers “responded with courage and valor” to the scene.

Earlier in the day, Lucas also posted support for all Kansas City officers involved in the shootings Thursday.

“This has been a tough day for the men and women of [KCPD] and the people of Kansas City,” Lucas wrote. “Please pray for our wounded officer, all of our law enforcement community, and their families. I thank them all for their courage and service.”

Gun violence will be the subject of a new, statewide journalism project The Star is undertaking in Missouri this year in partnership with the national service program Report for America and sponsored in part by Missouri Foundation for Health. As part of this project, The Star will seek the community’s help.

To contribute, visit Report for America online at reportforamerica.org.

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