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Gunshots Could Change Kansas City Zoo's Free-Admission Days

Fights and gunshots in a Kansas City Zoo parking lot are prompting a debate on the future of “free admission days” that are held four times a year. Monday's was the second such event marked by unruly behavior and fighting among young people.

No injuries were reported, but many of the throng of 20,000 zoo visitors reported they witnessed fights and heard the crack of gunshots coming from one of the Swope Park parking lots.

Zoo director Randy Wistoff said the size of the crowd was unexpected and overwhelming, but the zoo is committed to four of the events a year for Jackson and Clay County residents. It was a promise when voters approved the zoo sales tax.

As for the event planned for June, Wistoff told TV-9 news, "Hopefully we won't have to postpone that one or move it, but right now we're just working toward a fix.”

Suggestions for a "fix" to ward off future violence so far include a larger police presence, separate free-admission days for different areas of the city, and discontinuing the free admission days and instead sending taxpayers tickets or vouchers for admission on a day of their choice.

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