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2 Officers Shot In Kansas City, Missouri, Incidents; Mayor Lucas Wants Special Session Of The Assembly

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In one of the Thursday incidents, an officer underwent emergency surgery after being shot in the head during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect near 31st and Van Brunt.

As homicides in Kansas City, Missouri, approached 100, and a day after two officers were shot in separate incidents, Mayor Quinton Lucas asked the governor on Friday to call a special session of the general assembly to address violent crime.

“Given our challenges, I respectfully request that you call a Special Session of the Missouri General Assembly with a focus on addressing violence in our cities,” Lucas said in a letter to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.

“I would ask that our senators and representatives vote on legislation to enhance witness protection funding in Missouri and address how we can provide more tools for law enforcement and prosecutors to interrupt conspiracies to commit murder and other violent acts, particularly offenses committed by felons using deadly weapons.”

Lucas and the governor spoke Thursday night by phone.

In one of the Thursday incidents, an officer underwent emergency surgery after being shot in the head during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect near 31st and Van Brunt.

On Friday morning, according to a news release issued by the Kansas City Police Department, the officer was responding to stimulus and could move his arms and legs. "He remains in critical condition, but his substantial progress is very encouraging. His family has asked that his name not be released at this time," according to the release.

The suspect, 31-year-old Ky Johnson, also was shot and was killed. The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

That was the second shooting Thursday in less than six hours. Just before noon, an 18-year-veteran officer suffered a non-life threatening injury when he was shot trying to apprehend a robbery suspect on a Kansas City Area Transportation Authority bus near 6th and Hardesty.

The Missouri Highway Patrol said a KCATA bus driver also suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound during that incident.

Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith addressed reporters Thursday night outside Truman Medical Center, where the second wounded officer had been brought for surgery.

"It's time for awareness. It's time to face this problem of violence as a city together, head-on," he said.

Smith said the officer critically injured in the second shooting had been on the force for two-and-a-half years.

"We had to go get a mother to bring her to the hospital today, and the first words out of her mouth were, 'I'm angry at all the violence in this city.' I hope everyone hears those words," Smith said.

Investigators had not released any information about the suspect killed in the incident Thursday afternoon.

The Missouri Highway Patrol said officers were called to the scene of a "disturbance" near 31st and Van Brunt. When they arrived, investigators say, the suspect fled. Officers pursued on foot, and the suspect allegedly turned and began firing at officers.

Officers returned fire and the suspect was struck and killed.

The suspect in the first incident on the bus was taken into custody with critical injuries.

In that incident, the Missouri Highway Patrol says the suspect was "observed committing a robbery" by a bus driver. The suspect then got on the bus, and the driver called police. Officers arrived and one was able to board the bus near Independence Avenue and Hardesty.

Investigators say the suspect opened fire, hitting the officer and the driver. The officer returned fire and the suspect was critically injured.

"Other people called for our help today," Smith said later Thursday. "We didn't start this. We didn't initiate this."

The shootings Thursday come as frustration mounts amid a sustained uptick in violent crime in Kansas City. Just a bit more than halfway through the year, the city has recorded nearly 100 homicides and is on pace for an all-time high in killings.

Earlier this week, community activists, police officials and civic leaders gathered outside an apartment complex along Bushman Drive near 63rd Street and The Paseo to honor LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy shot and killed while he slept Monday.

“When we allow people to get killed every day in our community and do not speak up like it doesn't matter, these acts continue,” Rosilyn Temple, founder of the anti-violence group Mothers In Charge, told the crowd.

Lucas addressed Thursday's shootings on Twitter.

"This has been a tough day for the women and men of @kcpolice and the people of Kansas City," Lucas continued. "Please pray for our wounded officer, all of our law enforcement community, and their families. I thank them all for their courage and sacrifice."

The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating both incidents involving police officers Thursday. That's due to a change in policy approved by the Board of Police Commissioners prompted by recent protests that requires an outside law enforcement agency — and not KCPD — to investigate shootings involving KCPD officers.

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