The owners of a Kansas City nightclub where a gunman opened fire on people outside, killing a woman and injuring at least 15 other people before a guard killed him, expressed sorrow about the shooting amid calls by some to revoke its license.
The ownership group behind the 9ine Ultra Lounge in eastern Kansas City said in a Facebook post Monday that it is “deeply saddened by the unsavory tragic act of one individual" after a 29-year-old local man, Jahron Swift, opened fire on people leaving or waiting to get into the club late Sunday, when the city was celebrating the win that put Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
Police were trying to determine a motive for the attack, and it wasn't known if Swift knew any of the victims, including the 25-year-old Kansas City woman who was killed, Raeven Parks. Authorities haven't said how many of the injured had been shot, but three of them were in critical condition.
A cousin of Parks, Tamela Smith, told television station KSHB that Parks had been texting family and was leaving the club when she was shot.
“She was walking out, and just walked into the midst of it,” said Smith, who described her cousin as a “beautiful, beautiful woman.”
In their post, the club's owners described the shooting as a “shameless and senseless act of violence” and said they have “little in the way of answers."
The shooting led to quick calls by some to shutter the club permanently. Only about a week ago, there was a drive-by shooting in the parking long, and police had received complaints about the club in the past, said police Chief Richard Smith, who has no known relation to Tamela Smith.
Mayor Quinton Lucas said city officials would soon review whether the nightclub could be considered a nuisance, which might lead to its license being temporarily revoked, The Kansas City Star reported.
Just before Sunday's shooting, officers drove through the parking lot and saw nothing suspicious, the police chief said Monday. A disturbance occurred in the line shortly before the shooting, but it wasn't clear if the suspect was involved in that confrontation, he said. The security guard, who is licensed to be a guard but is not an off-duty officer, heard the disturbance from inside the bar and went outside and confronted the shooter, Smith said. Police officers didn't fire any shots at the scene. The guard's name hasn't been released.
Police recovered multiple guns at the scene, all of which were believed to be the suspect’s
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Monday that it was too soon for her to comment on what unfolded. She said she is grateful anytime someone steps up to help others, but that statistics show more guns do not make communities safer.
“Way too many people are armed,” she said.
Kansas City has one of the highest homicide rates in the U.S., and the rate rose last year despite it dropping in many other major cities.
“We've got a problem in Kansas City,” Lucas said Monday. “We've said a few times that it is an epidemic of gun violence. We're losing too many lives, we had too many shot each year. We will remain committed, both at City Hall and the police department, and every agency in Kansas City is making sure that we stop this problem.”
Chief Smith said the shooting happened despite having extra officers and increased security across the region because of the AFC Championship game, which attracted visitors from across the country.
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