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'This is insanity': Alarming week of gun violence across KC tied to public health failures

Kaitlin Washburn and Humera Lodhi, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Over the last week, the Kansas City metro area has been plagued by a high pace of violence that has even caused the mayor to publicly criticize the city's current approach to violence reduction.

Since Nov. 29, 12 people have died and more have been injured in shootings and homicides across the metro.

Monday saw the most bloodshed in a 24-hour span. In the wee hours of the day, two separate shootings across Kansas City left two people dead and sent two others to area hospitals.

Another individual was shot and killed later in the day and two more shootings took place in the evening, leaving one person dead and another injured.

In Kansas City alone, there have been 145 homicides this year, according to data maintained by The Star. By this time last year — the deadliest year on record — the city had suffered 176 homicides. In 2019, there had been 143 homicides by this time, according to The Star's data.

"Isn't it embarrassing that we, in Kansas City, talk about the fact that we are not going to approach our record breaking year as if it is a model of success? I mean, we are on pace right now to have pretty much the second most violent year in the city's history," Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas told The Star.

 

"This is insanity. This is not success. This is a sign of a substantial challenge to the future of our city and the greatness of our city."

Lucas said Monday that the recent spike in violent crime was likely the least surprising of all political issues for the last year because the same thing keeps happening.

"It is a blight on the city's reputation, on the quality of life for every Kansas Citian, and for so many of our young people who live a life knowing violent crime and death, that this is just something that we kind of shake our heads about and move on from," Lucas said.

Kansas City, and Missouri as a whole, has for years suffered from exceptionally high rates of gun violence. To understand why the city and state were in such dire straits, The Star undertook the Missouri Gun Violence Project, seeking to highlight and explore the root causes and potential solutions to gun violence.

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