Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Another beautiful day in Kansas City..."

[Updated below]

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon - today - gunfire erupted at Ward Parkway center at 88th and State Line, killing two people and the gunman. "Gunfire erupted" isn't a good description, actually. Apparently someone who had already snapped and killed another person went to the mall and started hunting humans. Reports thus far indicate the shooter was using a rifle of some sort - in one report it was described as a "long gun."

I wasn't there - and I don't know what happened. But that is my mall. It is where I divest myself of most of my disposable income. It is where my Target, and my Dillards and my T.J. Maxx are located, and I pay my cell-phone bill at the T-Mobile kiosk in the center promenade. My granddaughter tosses pennies in the fountain right there by the door where the gunman entered. I buy my sneakers at the Foot Locker and my home was decorated out of the Pier One. I have a coffee from that very Starbucks every time I set foot in the place. If I had not traded shifts in the online-classroom I might have been there - I run my errands on Sundays. But a colleague traded me shifts so he could go out of town for the weekend. So I went to Target and the T-Mobile kiosk on Tuesday. I picked up Reubens from McCallister's Deli, where people hid under tables, then I headed to the Starbucks for a pound of beans and a quad-shot dry mocha before catching my bus back home.

I was pissed about being stuck inside today - because today was beautiful. Sunny, mid-eighties, a light breeze...Another beautiful day in Kansas City.

The details are still very murky, but apparently there was another body found earlier in the afternoon, and a description of the suspects car went out. A policeman attempted to do a car check in the 1300 block east of Bannister Road (aka 95th Street) and was fired on. One shot hit him in the arm, but he is expected to recover. He returned fire, but it is unknown if he hit the suspect.

The suspect fled to Ward Parkway, where he killed two people in the parking lot, then proceeded into the mall through the entrance by the Starbucks, and started firing on people at random. The shooting stopped when the gunman was shot and killed, but it is unclear whether the gunman was slain by a policeman or a security guard.

There is only one thing I know for certain right now - and that is that I don't want to hear from any Derbyshire or Malkin types who think if Amber had pulled a pistol out of Madison's stroller the dead would still be alive.

UPDATE: Apparently, the shooter was mentally ill, and killed a 67-year-old next door neighbor, Patricia Reed, earlier in the week. He had hassled her in the past, trying to get her to give him her gun (a rifle). She refused. Neighbors had not seen her for several days, and called the police for a welfare check. They were unable to gain entry yesterday, and left. They returned today and broke down the door, where they found her body in the kitchen. An APB was issued for the neighbor and Ms. Reeds car. The car was spotted a few blocks away, and the policeman who was injured attempted to approach the suspects car at the Valero station at 1331 East Bannister Rd. The two people he killed and two more who were injured in the parking lot were random victims. They just happened to be near their vehicles, on either side of the parking spot he pulled into. The gunman was felled by a policeman's bullet. (Update info courtesy of Fox 4 News)

Meantime, while we wait for details to emerge, it just seems appropriate to post this video:

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