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Another Weekend Of Shootings And Murders In Kansas City

Rebecca Hange
KCUR 89.3

While Kansas City police can't explain it, this was another busy weekend for detectives — the latest spike in gun crime over the last few weeks.

Since last Wednesday afternoon alone, 24 people have been shot and five have died. None of the crimes seems to be connected.

“Each one of these seems to be individual scenes at this point in time. There’s really nothing pointing towards any group that’s responsible for multiple scenes,” KCPD spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina said at a news conference Monday morning.

Police are particularly worried about gunfire that erupted in a crowded area of the Jazz District near 18th and Highland around midnight Sunday. Three men and three women were wounded, all seriously. Detectives say they're not sure if the altercation started on the street or spilled out from a club.

On Friday, KCPD Chief Rick Smith made a plea for neighbors with information to come forward to help solve the crimes. Detectives said they were getting at least a little more information from the community over the weekend.

“What they want is to live in peace in their neighborhood. They want to live without fear of crime and they want to do what it takes in order to make that happen,” Becchina said.

There has also been an unusually high number of shootouts. Police exchanged gunfire with suspects Friday morning in south Kansas City and again early Sunday morning near 59th and Askew Avenue.

"Any officer-involved shooting is unusual and something we work very hard to avoid. But two in one weekend is a busy week,” Becchina said.

No officers were wounded in either gunfight.

On Monday morning, three men were charged in connection with the incident on Askew Avenue. They were drunk and firing handguns; neighbors heard up to 100 rounds fired and called police.

"As officers approched, the gunfire continued and officers reported being fired upon and an officer returned fire," according to charging documents.

Diego Torres-Infante, 24, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon while intoxicated. Fidel A. Carmona, 29, was charged with the same crime. Juan Carlos Cuevas-Alvarez, 32, was charged with delivery of a controlled substance. Police found 26 pounds of marijuana in the basement of the house, court documents say.

While it certainly doesn't feel like it, gun crime in Kansas City is actually down from this time last year.

So far this year KCPD has investigated 73 homicides, compared with 88 at the same time last year, according to statistics on the KCPD website. And non-fatal shooting right now stand at 272, compared with 302 a year earlier.

August could shape up to be quite violent, however. On Aug. 6 last year police had worked nine non-fatal shootings. As of Monday, there were 23 such shootings, according to police.

Sam Zeff is KCUR's metro reporter. He can be reached on Twitter @samzeff.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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