crime

Andrea Tudhope / File photo

One person is dead and eight others were injured in two separate shooting incidents in the Kansas City metro this weekend.

Around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, a gunman fired into a crowd of people walking in Kansas City's Westport district, injuring six people, one critically. The Westport gunman used a semi-automatic weapon, Kansas City police chief Darryl Forte said in a Tweet.

David Shane / Flickr-CC

A loophole in Missouri's criminal code means most stealing cases are no longer felonies. 

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court reduced multiple felonies for a woman convicted of stealing firearms to misdemeanors, citing vague language written into the state's criminal code in 2002. 

The court looked at the case of Amanda Bazell, who was convicted of felony stealing. Her lawyer noticed that the language in the criminal code that designates stealing offenses as felonies was unclear.  The court agreed. 

Here's what the court's opinion states:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A standoff in Kansas City, Kansas, ended Tuesday afternoon when law enforcement officers at the scene decided the risk of injury to bystanders outweighed serving an arrest warrant.

The standoff began around 8:20 a.m. with a man at 5701 Parallel Parkway refusing to come out of a house.

KCK Police Chief Terry Zeigler tweeted shortly before noon that his officers had come to the assistance of U.S. Marshals trying to serve a warrant to the man, who had failed to register as a sex offender.

Laura Ziegler
KCUR 89.3

Family, friends, and colleagues of Capt. Robert Melton gathered Wednesday evening on the plaza outside Kansas City, Kansas, City Hall to remember the 16-year veteran of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department. Melton was killed while pursuing a suspect on Tuesday.

Under a row of flags flying at half staff, there was a prayer, some music and words of condolence for Melton's family from Chief Terry Ziegler. Ziegler and his force are still grieving the death of another fallen officer, Det. Brad Lancaster, who was killed in May.

Updated 5:21 p.m.

For the second time in two months, a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer was killed in the line of duty.

He died Tuesday just before 3:00 p.m. at KU Hospital.

The officer was identified as Capt. Robert Melton.

Melton was shot at 22nd and Haskell in KCK after pursuing a vehicle believed to be involved in a drive-by shooting, according to KCKPD Chief Terry Zeigler. “As Capt. Melton was arriving the suspects bailed from the vehicle and opened fire striking Capt. Melton and fatally wounding him.”

The man suspected of killing three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday morning appears to be from Kansas City, Missouri. Guest host Kyle Palmer brings you the latest from reporters on the ground in Baton Rouge and in Kansas City.

Guests:

Kansas City is in the running for a $500,000 prize to make the metro healthier. We were selected due to the efforts of Aim4Peace, a group that seeks to proactively reduce violent crime through its guiding philosophy — violence is a disease that spreads and contracts just like sicknesses do.

Guests:

Terrorism Surveillance

Jun 21, 2016

Attacks like the one in Orlando, or San Bernardino, or even closer to home in Overland Park, Kansas, seem random and terrifying. How can local law enforcement prevent something like that from happening again? How does surveillance both protect our safety, yet still preserve our civil liberties?

And, in the aftermath of Orlando, a representative from our local Muslim community shares how it feels to be part of a "targeted group."

Guests: 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker doesn’t think victims and first responders should lose their right to privacy just because they’re witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Baker filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday firing back at a St. Louis judge who in several cases has ordered the City Circuit Attorney there to disclose the home addresses of crime victims and law enforcement officers scheduled to testify in court.

“We're not trying to hide them,” Baker says. “But what we are trying to do is balance their privacy right against our system of justice.”

Since becoming a Kansas City, Missouri police officer in the 1950s, Alvin Brooks has spent a lifetime working to reduce crime and injustice in his city. Even as we look back at all he’s already done, we ask the equal rights activist what Kansas City still needs to do.

On Tuesday, Alvin Brooks was awarded at lifetime achievement award from the South Kansas City Alliance. He is also this year's recipient of the Truman Public Service Award.

Courtesy of jocogov.org

Most departments in Johnson County, Kansas, will no longer ask questions about criminal convictions on their job applications. The move is in support of the Fair Chance Hiring initiative, a campaign started by the National Employment Labor Project to give people with criminal records better access to jobs.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Tuesday night, around 70 students from Southwest Early College Campus (SWECC) attended the school’s final graduation ceremony at Unity Temple. They entered the room to "Pomp and Circumstance," dressed in traditional black gowns.

As they took their seats, one seat remained empty in the front row.

“Towards the end of the year, we lost one of our special students,” principal Earl Williams said in the welcome address.

Peggy Lowe/ KCUR 89.3

Angry, anguished, and finally emboldened by a kind judge, a Kansas City woman who was raped and nearly killed 17 years ago on Thursday vowed to find her attacker’s other victims and help reform the law enforcement system.

She survived a person's worst nightmare. KCUR's investigative team brings us the story of how one woman’s vicious attacker was finally found after 17 years, and of the mistake that left the case open for so long.

Guests:

Illustration by Jacob Joslyn

Juliette was startled awake on August 17, 1999, and faced a woman’s worst nightmare: a man was in her bedroom, brandishing a large knife.

“He said, ‘Be quiet and I won’t hurt you,’” says Juliette (a pseudonym). “I thought that meant he was going to rape me and leave.”

Maria Carter / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night at a candlelight vigil outside the Kansas City, Kansas City Hall to remember police detective Brad Lancaster, who was shot and killed as he pursued a suspect near the Kansas Speedway on Monday.

Mayor Pro Tem Hal Walker says he first met Lancaster just after he graduated from the police academy. “It was clear then as it was clear throughout his career what great potential, what great service he gave to his community,” says Walker.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

An Oskaloosa man imprisoned for a crime his brother committed is suing the Jefferson County law enforcement officials and others who pursued his wrongful conviction.

“You go from being Floyd Scott Bledsoe to Bledsoe 70545,” said Floyd Bledsoe, who spent 15 years in prison for the murder of 14-year-old Camille Arfmann in 1999.

Bledsoe’s brother, Tom Bledsoe, first confessed to the murder, then later recanted. In a November 2015 suicide note, Tom Bledsoe again confessed to raping and murdering Arfmann.

KCK Police

A Kansas City, Kansas, police detective is being remembered Tuesday morning as a loving family man and dedicated public servant.

Nine-year veteran Brad Lancaster was shot and killed Monday afternoon near the Kansas Speedway after responding to a suspicious person report. He was shot multiple times before the suspect fled in Lancaster's unmarked car. Lancaster later underwent surgery at the University of Kansas Hospital but died of his wounds.

KCK Police Chief Terry Zeigler confirmed the news on Twitter Monday. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The father of a toddler who died last week after accidentally shooting herself with his gun has been charged with second degree murder, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Wednesday.

Courtenay Block, 24, told police he was sleeping when his 2-year-old daughter shot herself in the head April 21.

“Children are not responsible for their own safety,” Baker said at a news conference. “That’s our job. Your job and mine.”

J. Schafer / Kansas Public Radio

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was processing a crime scene Sunday  at a Topeka hotel where three federal agents suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being shot while trying to make an arrest on Saturday night.

According to a statement by the FBI, members of the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force were executing a federal arrest warrant for Orlando J. Collins, 28, who was on the Kansas most-wanted list and was considered armed and dangerous. The warrant had been issued for Collins on April 20, charging him with two counts of robbery.

Calah D. Johnson, 35, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of a woman shot while driving her family home from Starlight Theatre on July 17, 2009.

For years, police weren’t sure who murdered 45-year-old Deanna Lieber, the top attorney for the Kansas Department of Education. Lieber’s daughter, then 13, and mother-in-law were also in the car, which was traveling south on U.S. 71 near 59th Street when a stray bullet struck Lieber. The family was headed home to Lawrence.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

A quiet meeting with a few people on Saturday turned into a fervent discussion  between almost 20 area  residents and members of the mayor's Citizens Task Force on Violence.

“Unfortunately we’ve had more than our share of deadly violence in this area,” said former city councilman John Sharp, who thanked the task force for holding its second listening session with the community. This one was at the Hillcrest Community Center in south Kansas City.

The director of the Springfield Art Museum likens the recent theft of seven Andy Warhol screen prints to the loss of a loved one.

In a brief address to the media Tuesday, Nick Nelson said the museum is working with authorities in hopes of retrieving the items, part of Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup collection.

“The theft of these iconic Warhol prints the museum has had in its permanent collection for 30 years feels like the loss of a family member.”

Set number 31 of the Campbell’s Soup I collection is valued at approximately $500,000. 

Forget what you've seen on CSI or Law and Order.  Take a look at what really goes into solving crimes through DNA analysis and how the process differs from what we see on TV.

Guest:

Blue Springs Police shot and killed a teenager armed with a knife early Wednesday morning near the 1500 block of Southwest 20th Street around 5 a.m.

Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe says officers responded to a residential area to reports of a prowler.

“Through the investigation it was determined the actual caller to 911 was the suspect that was killed,” Lowe says. “There was also a note found in the residence – a suicide note – indicating he wanted to have a confrontation with law enforcement.”

Cody Newill / KCUR

The city has announced plans to demolish the Royale Inn -- known to neighbors and leaders as a dangerous, crime-ridden place, not to mention a less-than-welcoming gateway to downtown when driving from the interstate onto Paseo. But while demolition may solve problems for the neighborhood, does it address underlying issues of poverty and crime, or just relocate them?

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Jackson County Prosecutor announced charges Tuesday in the murder of a Raytown man gunned down while jogging near Blue Ridge Boulevard and 67th Street.

Craig L. Brown, 24, faces a single count of second degree murder in the May 13, 2012, shooting death of Harry Stone, 60. Stone described the two men who’d fired at him from a passing car to an anesthesiologist before dying in surgery.

Kansas City’s new Citizen Task Force on Violence is up and rolling as it confronts the difficult question of why there’s so much violence in the metro. The committee had its first meeting last week, amid another spike in homicides in recent weeks.

Guests:

Pexels / Creative Commons

The con-man may be someone  you want to avoid in real life, but he is a beloved figure in literature. Why do readers and writers love the con artist so? And why is he always a "he"? Lots of reading recommendations, plus the story of a local writer who's not only written about the con-man; he's also been one.

Guests:

Jimmy Townsend, longtime owner of Kansas City’s Green Duck Lounge at 26th Street and Prospect Avenue, was killed over the weekend.

Police say Townsend, 83, died of a gunshot wound. He was found outside of his home around 11 a.m. Saturday morning, a few blocks from the nightclub.

As news of Townsend’s death spread on social media, some drew parallels to Leon Jordan, the late civil rights activist and Green Duck Lounge owner who was assassinated in 1970.

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