gun violence

Laura Ziegler KCUR 89-3

As late afternoon sun streamed through the towering church windows of the Village Presbytarian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas, Wednesday, more than a hundred people gathered to remember the dead and pray for survivors.

"For those grieving, those clinging to life, and those welcomed into God's hands, let us gather to worship," said Rev. Tom Are, Jr., softly. "We've learned that when life is broken, it's important to be in God's presence as a source of healing."

A day after 49 people were killed in a  mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, LGBTQ and Islamic leaders reflect on how the tragedy affects their communities. 

Guests:

  • Dustin Cates is the artistic director of the Heartland Men's Chorus.
  • Moben Mirza is the secretary of the Islamic Center of Johnson County. 
Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

Horrified. Sad. Distraught.

That’s how Kansas Citians felt Sunday after a weekend shooting at an Orlando gay club left 50 people dead.

But they also weren’t surprised.

“I just feel like mass shooting in this country happens really often,” John Lim said.

The alleged gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, had ties to ISIS, NPR reported. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police after a nearly 3-hour standoff.

Another 53 people were injured.

Paul Mullenex, walking on the Country Club Plaza Sunday afternoon, took a grim view of what happened in Florida.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

A coalition of health care and religious groups is asking Gov. Sam Brownback to convene a conference on gun violence.

“In the immediate aftermath of the tragic attack at Excel Industries in Hesston, you declined questions about gun policy issues because you understandably felt the timing was not appropriate,” reads the first sentence of the request submitted earlier this week. “We the undersigned inferred that you do believe, however, a time and place for such a conversation exists. We think that time should be soon.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Speaking Monday at an event to raise awareness about child abuse, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté brought a prop to prove his point.

“This is an extension cord,” Forté says. “People actually get so-called ‘disciplined’ with extension cords. Some of the people I was raised with, they still think it’s OK.”

That’s a problem, Forté says. When abuse is normalized, kids who were abused grow up to be abusers.

“If I beat you with this and I do other things with this over and over again, I can predict the outcome,” says Forté. “I can write the end of that story.”

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.

Creative Commons-Wikimedia

Despite a federal law that bars negligence claims against gun dealers, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled today that the mother of a schizophrenic woman who bought a gun and used it to kill her father can sue the pawnshop that sold her the gun.

Although it said Janet Delana’s negligence claim was barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), the court said the law did not bar her “negligent entrustment” claim against Odessa Gun & Pawn.

The court sent the case back to the trial court, which had granted summary judgment to the pawnshop.

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:

KMBC

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté is starting the year with his hands full, after another streak of violent crime.

So far, the city has seen eight homicides in the first ten days of January. This, following a particularly deadly end of 2015.

“I’ve been concerned (about violence) my entire life as a young male growing up in Kansas City," Forté told host Steve Kraske on Up to Date. "I stay awake at night I think, ‘Darryl what else can you do?’” 

As legislators go back to work in Kansas this month, there’s one thing on everyone’s mind—the budget. Tax cuts have left the state scrambling to find enough money to cover its programs. We discuss that and how President Obama's statements on gun violence apply to Kansas on this edition of Up to Date.

Guests:

  • Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan.
  • Rep. Stephanie Clayton, a Republican from Overland Park
Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Dozens of Kansas Citians dressed in bright orange protested against gun violence on Sunday, the eve of the third anniversary of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The protesters lined the median along Ward Parkway outside the Country Club Christian Church. The event was part of activist group Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America's nationwide "Orange Walks." 

University of Kansas film professor Kevin Willmott's latest movie, CHI-RAQ has opened to lots of buzz. Steve Kraske and the film critics talk to the screenwriter about what he and co-writer Spike Lee were trying to say in this film. 

Losing a loved one to violence is extremely difficult, but family members of the deceased are turning to each other not only for support but to enact change. KC Mothers In Charge, now in its second year, is leading a special effort in that direction. On this edition of Up to Date, we learn how the group is working to make Kansas City safer for its children.  

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James recited a list of wins for the city at a press conference Wednesday.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in October 2015.   

Near a greasy spoon restaurant in the Quindaro neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, two young men were killed in a drive-by shooting on a sunny afternoon earlier this year. Two more killings after what had already been a violent stretch of months.

Pastor Sheldrick Walker was in his church a few miles away when he got the news from fellow pastor Adrion Roberson.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Since October, four children have died in drive-by shootings in Kansas City. What's going on, and what are the first steps we can take to work against this trend? A physician, a criminologist, and a mother weigh in. Race, opportunity in life, gun safety and witness protection play into the discussion. 

"When they took my son's life," says Roslyn Temple, "That's the worst thing they could have ever done to me. ... That was my child."

Guests:

As Kansas City prepared for the spotlight of the World Series, a little girl stepped out of a local convenience store. A car drove by, someone fired shots, and in seconds, six-year old Angel Hooper was dead. In the days since her murder, the Kansas City Police Department has received only two tips in its investigation.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James and other city officials gathered near 44th Street and Montgall Avenue Tuesday morning to blast gun legislation state lawmakers will consider in Jefferson City on Wednesday.

Missouri legislators already approved a package of gun law changes that would let 19-year-olds obtain concealed carry permits, bar cities from enacting open carry ordinances and allow school districts to arm designated classroom teachers.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The homicide epidemic among young black men on Kansas City’s east side is leaving a generation of grieving teens in its wake, and some in the crime-fighting community feel black churches need to change their message to better help these young people deal with their loss.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The day after a harrowing series of shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom, Central Standard convenes community leaders to take the first steps toward healing and understanding. Do we find answers in spirituality? Ethics? Shared humanity and friendship? Tune in for this half-hour segment to hear how Kansas City's communities are responding to a tragic act of targeted violence.

Guests:

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom retirement home in Overland Park, Kan. became international news overnight as new details about the tragedy emerged.

Authorities have been learning about the racist and anti-Semitic ideology of the suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., who hate-group trackers have been following for years.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Updated 10:47 a.m.:

Frazier Glenn Cross, the suspect in Sunday's shootings, is being held at the Johnson County Detention Center without bond. Kristi Bergeron, of the District Attorney's Office in Johnson County said he will not be arraigned Monday.

He will face both federal and state charges.

Updated 10:36 a.m.:

The Children's Center for the Visually Impaired released this statement: