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Bullets ripped through crowds of spectators following a Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory parade attended by tens of thousands Wednesday, killing one and injuring at least 21 others in the nation’s latest shooting assault at a major sports or concert venue.

Kansas City, Missouri, police confirmed shots were fired west of Union Station at around 2 p.m. local time. Interim Fire Chief Ross Grundyson said at a news conference that 22 people suffered gunshot wounds, including one fatality, eight with immediately life-threatening injuries, seven with life-threatening injuries, and six with minor injuries.

Several people near the parade route were carried away on stretchers.

Lisa Augustine, spokesperson for Children’s Mercy Kansas City, said the hospital was treating 12 patients from the rally, including 11 children, some of whom suffered gunshot wounds.

Police Chief Stacey Graves said three people have been detained, but detectives are investigating whether one person was among a group of bystanders who assisted police and possibly tackled an assailant.

“I’m angry at what happened today. The people who came to this celebration should expect a safe environment,” Graves said at a news conference.

Radio station KKFI said in a Facebook post Wednesday evening that DJ Lisa Lopez, host of “Taste of Tejano,” was killed in the shooting.

“This senseless act has taken a beautiful person from her family and this KC Community,” KKFI said.

Some of the Chiefs’ players spoke at the rally but were not in the line of fire when shots rang out. A team official said players and coaches were not injured and were on buses leaving the area.

More than 800 law enforcement officers were providing security for the parade route, Graves said. Several hundred thousand people had been expected to attend the parade celebrating the Chiefs’ championship victory Sunday.

President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were briefed on the shooting. Biden said late Wednesday night that the shooting stirs deep emotion because of its ties to a Super Bowl celebration and he asked people to “make your voice heard in Congress.” He said the end goal is to ban assault weapons, to limit high-capacity magazines, strengthen background checks, and keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

“The Super Bowl is the most unifying event in America,” Biden said. “Nothing brings more of us together. And the celebration of a Super Bowl win is a moment that brings a joy that can’t be matched to the winning team and their supporters. For this joy to be turned to tragedy today in Kansas City cuts deep in the American soul.”

Agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the parade and assisting local police, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Shootings at victory rallies are not unheard of in recent years. After the Denver Nuggets’ championship parade last year, a shooting took place in downtown Denver that injured two people, though police said they didn’t believe the incident was associated with the actual celebration. Also last year, an argument resulted in shots being fired at a parking lot near the Texas Rangers’ World Series championship parade. Nobody was injured.

A shooting at a concert in Dallas left one dead and 16 injured in 2022. In October 2017, a gunman opened fire on the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada from his 32nd-floor suites in the Mandalay Bay hotel. He fired more than 1,000 rounds, killing 60 people and wounding at least 413 in what remains the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in American history.

State officials ‘out of harm’s way’ after attending parade
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he was at the parade with first lady Teresa Parson when shots were fired, but they had safely evacuated.

“State law enforcement personnel are assisting local authorities in response efforts,” Gov. Parson said in a social media post. “As we wait to learn more, our hearts go out to the victims.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly was also at the rally but posted an update that she was safe.

“At the end of the Chiefs rally, shots were fired near Union Station. I have been evacuated and am out of harm’s way. I encourage everyone to follow instructions and updates from @kcpolice. Please stay safe,” Kelly said on X, formerly Twitter.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas attended the parade with his wife and mother and had to run for cover when gunfire broke out.

“I think that’s something that all of us who are parents, who are just regular people living each day, have to decide what we wish to do about,” Lucas said. “Parades, rallies, schools, movies. It seems like almost nothing is safe.”

Witnesses recount chaos when gunfire broke out
Kevin Sanders, 53, of Lenexa, Kansas, said he heard what sounded like firecrackers and then people running. After that initial flurry, calm returned, and he didn’t think much of it. But he said 10 minutes later, ambulances started showing up.

“It sucks that someone had to ruin the celebration, but we are in a big city,” Sanders said.

Ofilio Martinez, 48, said he heard shots fired a couple blocks away about 10 or 15 minutes before the gunfire near the Union Station rally.

“This is making me nervous, scared,” he said.

Gunfire broke out less than half an hour after Chiefs fans concluded their parade in celebration of the Super Bowl victory. The rally was scheduled to end at Union Station with speeches by players and coaches.

Kansas City was in high spirits before parade
Fans in Kansas City got to experience yet another parade celebrating the Super Bowl champions. This year, Tara Bennett said it was more special as she and her friends cheered the team on throughout the season and defended their title as Super Bowl Champions.

“It was exciting and so much fun seeing the players coming down and having fun with people with their family celebrating the city,” Bennett, a Kansas City resident, said. “It was beautiful today and we kept taking layers off because it was warm with the sun beating down.”

That was ripped away when she saw news about a possible shooting spread as she and her friend walked toward their car. Their fears were confirmed when they turned on the radio.

Bennett, an active volunteer with Moms Demand Action, said the state has been weakening gun laws for nearly a decade, allowing people to purchase a gun and conceal rifles without a permit, according to both Everytown for Gun Safety and the National Rifle Association.

“This shouldn’t have happened and shouldn’t have marred and scarred everyone and given a black eye to the city,” Bennett said.

NFL, Chiefs express condolences
The National Football League said it was “deeply saddened by the senseless shooting” that sent shockwaves through Kansas City as throngs of paradegoers ran for cover.

“Our thoughts are with the victims and everyone affected,” the NFL said.

The Kansas City Chiefs confirmed all of its players, coaches, staff and their families were safe and accounted for.

“We are truly saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred outside of Union Station at the conclusion of today’s parade and rally. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all of Kansas City,” the Chiefs said in a statement.

Chiefs players took to social media to share their condolences. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said on X he is “praying for Kansas City” in the wake of the shooting.

—USAToday

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