KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Two gunmen entered a Kansas City bar early Sunday and shot nine people, killing four of them, according to KCK police.
The shooting occurred shortly after 1:30 a.m. at Tequila KC near 10th Street and Central Avenue.
Arriving officers saw several people running out of the bar, said officer Tom Tomasic, a spokesman with the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department.
Once inside, they found four Hispanic males dead from gunshot wounds. One was in his late 50s, another in his mid-30s and the other two in their 20s, police said.
Police also found five victims outside who had been wounded by gunfire, Tomasic said. All were rushed to hospitals with unspecified injuries. Two were released from the hospital by mid-morning Sunday. Those who remained were in stable condition, Tomasic said.
Investigators were on scene going through the surveillance video.
“We’re trying to speak with the various witnesses that we have here trying to get stories kind of straightened out and put everything together so that we can get a good suspect description and catch these guys,” Tomasic said. “We believe there were two suspects who came in and began firing.”
Police were trying to put together a possible motive. One scenario is that two men may have been inside the club earlier. When something happened, they left then returned and started shooting, Tomasic said.
“We do not believe it was random,” Tomasic said. “We do believe it was an isolated incident. We don’t feel that these suspects are going to go out and do this again.”
Because it was 1:30 a.m. inside a bar, police are finding that they have to take all the stories and piece them together to determine what exactly happened.
“Even though they were there, everybody has a little bit different story,” Tomasic said.
The scene inside the bar was chaotic when the gunmen started firing with handguns about half an hour before the 2 a.m. closing time. Police estimated that about 40 people were present. The total number of shots fired is not yet known.
“It’s a pretty small bar,” Tomasic said. “You have two guys come in start shooting, people are just running. People are just running wherever they can.”
Blood was visible on the ground in front of the bar. A trail stretched from the bar down Central Avenue to Lally Park nearby.
With the adrenaline pumping, victims who were shot in the shoulder probably didn’t realize it until you’re a good distance away, Tomasic said.
Although all of the victims are believed to be Hispanic, police do not believe the shooting was racially motivated.
“With the stories that we are getting with the suspects being inside the bar earlier, we don’t feel that it’s racially motivated,” Tomasic said. “We believe that there was something that happened in the bar earlier. Unfortunately they left and decided to take it to another level, came back and started shooting.”
Officers re-entered the bar about 7:30 Sunday morning after obtaining a search warrant.
At least a dozen people gathered with officers near the bar this morning. After speaking with an agent, one woman broke down in tears; a man held her up to keep her from falling to the pavement.
Another man who walked away from the group placed his hand against a nearby business and threw up.
The victims have not been identified, but Juan Ramirez, of Kansas City, Kan., said his 29-year-old nephew was among those killed. His family was searching for another relative.
Ramirez said investigators told him they believed there was a fight at the bar. At least one person involved in the dispute left the bar and came back with a gun, firing shots, Ramirez said he was told.
His nephew had “nothing to do with it,” he said, a tear running down his face. “We’re just in shock and disbelief.”
He said his nephew left behind a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.
“I don’t wish this upon anybody,” Ramirez said.
KCK Mayor David Alvey told reporters his prayers were with the families of the victims and the assailants.
“It’s a sad day for all those involved,” Alvey said.
“The businesses and families who live in these neighborhoods are growing our community,” Alvey said. “They deserve to feel safe in their neighborhoods and businesses and deserve to be protected.”
Around 9:30 a.m., several white minivans pulled away carrying the deceased.
Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas, who said he had visited with a physician at the University of Kansas Hospital on Saturday, tweeted about the shooting this morning. Some of the victims were taken to the hospital.
Police are asking anyone who has any more information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
“We will take any assistance we can get right now,” Tomasic said.