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Kansas City teen charged in Chiefs parade shooting will be released to home detention

Two women stand outdoors on a brick-paved area with their backs to the camera, view a collection of flowers, stuffed animals, balloons and other signs that are piled up around a red and white sign that reads "Kansas City Strong United."
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR 89.3
Visitors at Union Station on Feb. 19, 2024, look at the memorial set up following the shooting after the Chiefs' Super Bowl celebration.

The 16-year-old, known only as “A.M.” in court documents, claims self defense in the shootings that killed one woman and injured 24 other people. A Jackson County Family Court judge ruled that he will not be tried as an adult.

A 16-year-old Kansas City boy charged in the Super Bowl parade shooting was released to home detention by a Jackson County judge on Thursday.

Family Court Administrative Judge Jennifer Phillips said the teen, known as “A.M.” in court documents, must wear electronic monitoring, be subject to drug tests, have no access to firearms and undergo family counseling and mental health treatment.  

On Wednesday, Phillips ruled in a sealed motion that A.M. would not be tried as an adult. The first he learned of it was Thursday, when he arrived in court in baggy beige pants and a gray sweatshirt, still in handcuffs and foot chains.

When his attorney, Yash Manjunath, leaned in to whisper news of the judge’s ruling from the previous day, the boy beamed, jumped up and down in his chair and hugged his lawyer.

After her ruling, Phillips took off her glasses and looked directly at the teen, who was sitting at a table with his mother. She told him that if he violates the terms of her ruling he will be placed back in secured detention until his August 15 adjudication, when his fate will be determined.

“Whether you are entitled to stay at home is entirely up to your choices,” Phillips said.

A.M. was one of two juveniles charged with unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest in the February 14 shootings at Union Station. He’s accused of firing at Lyndell Mays, 23, who faces four felony counts including second-degree murder. Two other adults are also charged and all are being held on $1 million bail.

Witnesses told police two groups of boys and young men began the fight "arguing about why they were staring at each other."

Manjunath said the teen needed to be released so he can get therapy for his “unspecified trauma,” which a doctor said could become full-blown PTSD. Manjunath was happy with Phillip’s ruling keeping the teen in juvenile court.

“She recognized that he’s amenable to treatment and can still be helped in the juvenile justice system. There’s a credible claim of self-defense,” Manjunath said.

A.M.’s mother and other family members cried and hugged after the ruling, saying they were relieved and happy he’d be heading home.

"My baby deserves to come home so he can show them what type of kid he is,” A.M.’s mother said. “I'm still gonna whup his ass, though."

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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