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'Unprecedented': With 95 homicides, Kansas City on pace for its deadliest year ever

Luke Nozicka, Robert A. Cronkleton, And Glenn E. Rice, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hours before dawn on Monday, someone fired a gun into an apartment building, adding one more to the hundreds of shootings recorded in Kansas City each year.

In this case, the victim was killed as he slept He was the 95th homicide victim of the year in Kansas City, where an onslaught of shootings in the first six months of 2020 has put the city on pace for its deadliest year ever, according to data kept by The Star, which includes law enforcement shootings.

He was also the city's youngest victim of the year. Legend Taliferro, who was found shot about 2:30 a.m. when the gunfire woke up others in the apartment, was only 4 years old.

Diagnosed at birth with a heart defect, Legend had survived heart surgery but could not survive this Monday morning in Kansas City. Police said they think the shooter intentionally targeted the apartment near East 63rd Street and The Paseo.

"This is a nightmare for any parent and I can't imagine the pain with which they're dealing this morning," Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote on Twitter, later calling on anyone with information to come forward. "There's no such thing as snitching when you're talking about someone who murdered a 4-year-old."

At this time last year, the city had recorded 28 fewer homicides, with 67. The year ended with 153.

 

There had been 61 homicides by this time in 2018, which ended with 145. The number of killings this year is also outpacing 2017, the bloodiest year in the city's history with 155 homicides when counting police shootings.

More people have already been killed this year than in all of 2014, which saw 86 homicides. Not even halfway through the year, homicides in 2020 have also surpassed the totals from 2002, 1984, 1973 and 1972.

"The amount of gunfire in the city is absolutely horrible," Police Chief Rick Smith, a former homicide detective, said Thursday, calling the number of homicides this year "unprecedented."

Sgt. Jacob Becchina, a police department spokesman, confirmed the city has "never had this many" killings at this point in a year.

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