Gunfire erupted early Sunday outside a Knights of Columbus hall where a party had attracted hundreds of young people, killing two men and wounding at least 10 other people, police said.
An officer handling a traffic accident heard several gunshots around 1 a.m. from near the Catholic fraternal lodge, located behind a commercial strip on a busy street in south Kansas City. The hall had been rented out, though police didn’t know by whom.
Police rushed to the scene and witnessed “people running in all different directions,” said Sgt. Doug Niemeier.
After the people and vehicles cleared the area, a 20-year-old man was found dead in a parking lot next to the hall. A second man, also 20, died later at a hospital, police said.
Niemeier said at least two other people were critically wounded — a 17-year-old shot in the chest and a 24-year-old shot in the neck — and at least eight others were also injured.
Police worked Sunday to determine an exact number of wounded. Some victims were taken to hospitals by ambulance, but others went in private vehicles, Niemeier said.
Investigators did not know what prompted the gunfire. Niemeier estimated that 25 to 50 rounds were fired.
No arrests had been made by Sunday afternoon, and the victims’ names had not been released. Phone messages left at the Knights of Columbus were not returned.
‘Sounds like firecrackers’
Crowds of young people filled two parking lots near the hall by 10:30 p.m. Saturday, milling around and leaning against cars, said Dan Blevins, 58, who was nearby at D’Angelo’s Lounge. The bartender called police, who arrived around 11 p.m. and left a short time later, he said.
Then, around 1 a.m., “We see people diving to the ground, and it sounds like firecrackers,” Blevins said. The bartender locked the door, and they watched as emergency vehicles arrived and people were carried away on stretchers.
Blevins returned to the site Sunday morning to retrieve his pickup truck from an area that police had taped off after the shootings. He inspected it before driving away, but found no bullet holes.
“I wasn’t worried about my truck. I was worried for my life and my friend’s life,” he said, referring to the bartender.