Three dead, two injured in Kansas City shootings
A quiet south Kansas City cul-de-sac with many older residents was the scene of the city's worst multiple killing in more than two years.
Three people were killed and two others hospitalised with critical injuries after the incident in the Woodbridge neighbourhood.
Kansas City police were called about 1pm on Tuesday (local time) to a home on Woodbridge Lane and reported finding one person dead outside. Officers entered the home in a search for suspects or other victims and discovered two other injured people. They were taken to different hospitals.
A short time later, officers reported finding two more people dead in another residence in the cul-de-sac. Officers methodically searched other houses. In some cases they had to force entry into unoccupied houses.
Initial reports were that officers were looking for a suspect possibly armed with a shotgun who may have been driving a vehicle stolen from the crime scene. The vehicle was described as a beige 2002 Toyota Highlander with Missouri license plates.
Police at the scene were tight-lipped about a possible motive but said the incident did not appear to start with a robbery. They said the victims were all adults.
Officers were conducting a door-to-door search, and residents of the neighbourhood were being told to stay inside their homes. Schools in the area were also locked down as a precaution for short periods Tuesday afternoon.
Kathy Hurst, who came to the police command post at Wornall and Blue Ridge Boulevard, said she was concerned about her mother-in-law, who lives in a unit next to a cousin of Hurst. Hurst said she reached the cousin, who told her that police said to stay inside.
Jo Lombardino, a longtime member of the Woodbridge Homes Association, said the neighbourhood had long considered itself one of the city's safest. Residents she talked to Tuesday, she said, "are just heartbroken."
Lombardino said the neighbourhood had regular meetings with police officers who patrol the area and said she used to participate in the area crime patrol.
"This is just mind-boggling," she said. "We are a very secure community."
An online crime-mapping feature shows only two recent minor incidents reported in the neighbourhood, although one of those incidents, a theft, was reported on August. 29 at the residence where some of the victims were found.
Lombardino said the subdivision has always had a friendly, neighbourly feel. Yearly pool parties in the summer and Christmas parties drew dozens of residents.
"In the last few years we've had many young families move in," she said. "It is a very, very desirable place to live."
The killings come during a year in which the city was on pace for its lowest homicide total in more than 40 years. Before Tuesday, Kansas City had 43 homicides in 2014, compared with nearly 70 at the same time last year.
The city's last triple homicide occurred in January 2012.
- THE KANSAS CITY STAR