Kansas City police link Super Bowl rally shooting to dispute, not extremism

Police confirmed one detainee was released, and they were working with juvenile prosecutors on applicable charges against two teenagers

Reuters
Published : 16 Feb 2024, 03:15 AM
Updated : 16 Feb 2024, 03:15 AM

A quarrel among several people sparked the shooting spree in Kansas City, Missouri, that killed a woman and wounded 22 people after a celebration of the city's NFL Super Bowl victory, police said on Thursday, ruling out any apparent link to extremism.

Three people, including two minors, were detained as "subjects" in the investigation, Police Chief Stacey Graves said at a press conference, the day after gunfire erupted in the vicinity of the city's historic downtown rail station.

The third detainee, also a juvenile who was determined not to be involved, was later released, according to police spokesperson Alayna Gonzalez.

Police were working with juvenile prosecutors to review evidence and "determine applicable charges" against the two minors, both teenagers, still held in custody, she said.

The police chief told reporters several firearms had been recovered from the shooting scene.

"This appears to be a dispute between several people that ended in gunfire," she said, suggesting the violence was incidental to the celebration rather than a targeted attack.

"Preliminary investigative findings have show there is no nexus to terrorism or homegrown violent extremism," Graves said.

The chief did not elaborate on what police knew about the origins of the precipitating clash or details of the shooting itself, including whether gang activity was involved.

Wednesday's parade and rally celebrating the Chiefs' Super Bowl triumph over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday had drawn upward of a million fans, Graves said, and the sound of gunshots as the event was breaking up sent throngs scrambling for cover.

Two fans attending the rally ended up tackling and detaining one of the three suspects.

In Thursday's briefing, police raised the tally of known gunshot victims to 23, and said their ages ranged from 8 to 47. Lisa Lopez-Galvan, a popular local radio personality, was the lone fatality.

"We have all intentions of presenting charges," Graves said of the suspects in custody. Their identities were not disclosed.

MORE SUSPECTS?

Police sought to determine if anybody else was involved in the shooting, and the chief said everyone responsible would be "brought to justice."

Children's Mercy Hospital said it treated the nine children who were shot and all were expected to recover. Two other children with non-gunshot injuries and an adult victim were also treated there, the hospital said.

The Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker, who will decide on any criminal charges, vowed on social media on Thursday to "use every tool at my disposal under Missouri law that allows me to address this tragedy."

Baker's office said by phone that charges could come as early as Thursday afternoon.

It was the latest high-profile outburst of gun violence in the U.S., where such incidents have erupted with increasing frequency in schools, supermarkets, nightclubs and other public settings.

"This is an all-too-real American problem," Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas told KMBC-TV. "But so long as we have fools who will commit these types of acts, as long as we have their access to firearms at this level of capacity ... we may see incidents like this one."

The mayor said plans would proceed for a St Patrick's Day parade next month. He said Wednesday's shooting "does not mean that Kansas City will stop having events."

Kansas City’s 182 murders in 2023 were an all-time record, surpassing the 176 tallied in 2020. More than one in 10 homicide victims in 2023 were under the age of 18, according to police statistics.

The barrage of gunfire on Wednesday unfolded near the city's landmark Union Station, whose front entrance was the backdrop to the stage for the victory rally. Hundreds of law enforcement personnel were present.

The Super Bowl celebration featured Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on stage with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and other teammates, but Kelce's pop superstar girlfriend, Taylor Swift, was back on tour in Australia.

"I am heartbroken over the tragedy that took place today," Kelce posted on X late on Wednesday. "My heart is with all who came out to celebrate with us and have been affected. KC, you mean the world to me."