Seven people were shot this weekend. Kansas City leaders are asking for help and information
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and Kansas City Chief Stacey Graves issued a “call to action,” asking the community to step up to stem a violent summer.
Kansas City law enforcement leaders on Wednesday asked for the community’s help in stemming gun violence after a violent Memorial Day weekend stirred fears of more bloodshed this summer.
Police Chief Stacey Graves, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, and Mayor Quinton Lucas issued a “call to action” after seven homicides in 72 hours during the holiday weekend.
“While we carry heavy hearts for all the violence that occurred over the weekend … we are not giving up,” Peters Baker said.
“We are not giving up. We’re in this, we’re in it together," she said, "and we’re here for the same mission. And that is to make this city safe for everyone.”
Graves, who read aloud the ages of all seven victims, said there were no commonalities in the homicides — they were spread across the city, involved different ages, and some came from personal conflicts.
“Seven victims in our city in 72 hours. Seven families in our city have been changed forever,” she said. “This is a call for action. Our department will continue to show up. But we need the community’s help.”
Graves urged people who know anything about the murders or know of some retaliation for the homicides to call the Crimestoppers tip line or to call police directly. There’s a $25,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest and there are pre-trial witness protection services.
Mentioning violence across the metro area, Lucas said “I think all of us are having a moment of crisis.” He urged the community to break the cycle of violent crime early in the summer.
“We’re going to meet again when we have our 100th homicide in this city. We’re going to meet again when school starts and there’s a kid that’s killed,” he said. “Why don’t we actually get in the way of that?”
Pat Clarke, Oak Park Neighborhood Association president, attributed some of the violence to the loss of local community spirit. He harkened back to the past, when everyone knew each other and cared for one another.
“I’ve been in Oak Park 59 years. All my life. All my life,” he said. “I know what it looked like when we were a village. We’re not a village no more. We’re just individuals that live in the same place.”
Lucas, Baker and Graves said there are people who know who committed the violence this weekend, probably know that there’s more planned and certainly know the victims.
“The whole goal of what we’re trying to do now is to make sure, frankly, that those folks who are associated with them don’t become victims and don’t become assailants,” Lucas said.