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CNN reporter questions police chief on suspects in Kansas City shooting

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CNN senior crime and justice correspondent Shimon Prokupecz questions police Chief Stacey Graves after a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory rally left one person dead and at least 21 others wounded.
Embargo: Kansas City, KS-MO

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At least half of the victims of the Kansas City mass shooting are children. The city is now grappling with the tragedy

Originally Published: 16 FEB 24 00:29 ET

Updated: 16 FEB 24 10:07 ET

By Nouran Salahieh, CNN

(CNN) — Investigators are examining bullets and shell casings left behind at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl celebration rally after a shooting that killed one person and wounded more than 20 others – at least half of them children – as the community grapples with the horror that abruptly ended the celebration.

Two teenagers are in custody as the investigation continues into Wednesday’s shooting in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, that sent panicked fans running or taking cover alongside star Chiefs athletes, some of whom comforted children as police converged on the scene.

The shooting stemmed from a “dispute between several people” and “preliminary investigative findings have shown there is no nexus to terrorism or home-grown violent extremism,” police chief Stacey Graves said at a news conference Thursday.

As of Thursday night, no charges had been announced and no suspects had been named. “We are working to determine the involvement of others,” Graves said at the news conference, noting that several firearms were recovered and police are working with the county prosecutor.

While police continued their investigation, a crowd gathered for a vigil Thursday evening at a plaza adjacent to Children’s Mercy hospital, where several children who were shot were hospitalized. Church leaders said prayers as people held candles that light up the dark, cold winter evening.

The somber gathering stood in stark contrast to the day before, when an estimated 1 million people gathered steps from Union Station in downtown Kansas City for the parade and rally to mark the Chiefs’ repeat championship win – a celebration that featured smiling NFL athletes high-fiving fans and parading on double-decker buses.

Wednesday’s shooting was at least the 48th mass shooting in the United States in 2024, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which like CNN counts those in which four or more are shot, not including a perpetrator. It also marked the second shooting in a year at a major US sports title celebration after two people were wounded in June as Denver fans left a parade for the NBA’s Nuggets.

Killed in the Kansas City shooting was radio DJ Lisa Lopez-Galvan, her employer KKFI 90.1 FM said.

Lopez-Galvan is remembered by her family as “a very loving, caring, and devoted mother,” and a leader in her community, her brother, Beto Lopez, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday.

More than 20 others were injured in the shooting, ranging from 8 to 47 years old, according to Graves.

Attendee Jacob Gooch Sr., his 13-year-old son and his wife were all wounded in the mass shooting, he told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday.

After the gunfire broke out, Gooch started army crawling away from the scene when he realized he’d been shot, he said. “I look at it and smoke is coming out of my ankle,” he recalled.

He said he later learned both his wife and son had been hit, her in the calf and the boy in the foot. His son still had the bullet lodged in his foot Thursday, he said.

“Expressing the feelings in words is near impossible right now,” Gooch said. “You know it happens, but you never expect it to happen to you.”

Where the investigation stands

Police initially said Wednesday they detained three people after the shooting. Kansas City Police spokesperson Alayna Gonzalez later told CNN in an email that one of them “was determined to not be involved.”

“The two juveniles are currently being held in custody while we work with juvenile prosecutors to review investigative findings and determine applicable charges,” Gonzalez added. “The juvenile court system determines the custody status of all juvenile arrests.”

The police chief said Thursday that it’s still unclear how many people were involved in the Wednesday shooting. “I don’t have a specific number of actors in this that perpetrated the violence that played out,” Graves said at a Thursday news conference.

Now as the investigation continues, bullets and shell casings left behind at the scene are key to determining whether there’s a possible connection to the people in custody as well as any other possible suspects, a law enforcement source told CNN.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators will also look at whether the bullets or shell casings match any of those firearms or any weapons in databases, according to the source.

Children describe being shot

Eighth grader Cash Adams, 13, was at the rally Wednesday with his cousins, hoping to get an autograph from his favorite player, defensive lineman Chris Jones, when gunfire broke out, CNN affiliate KMBC reported.

“I heard, ‘pop, pop, pop,’ and then I knew I’d been hit, so I just ran,” Cash told the station.

The boy, who suffered a bullet graze to the leg, tracked down a Kansas City police officer. “I knew I needed to get to safety,” Cash said.

Cash said the officer stayed with him the entire time, even in the medical tent where he saw badly hurt victims come in. “There was a lot of chaos, a lot of screaming,” the boy said.

At least half of the victims from the shooting are under the age of 16, Graves said at Thursday’s news conference.

The number of young victims in the shooting highlights the impact of gun violence on America’s youth. In 2020, firearms became the leading cause of death for children and teens in the US, surpassing car accidents.

On Wednesday, Children were able to come see their football heroes as school districts in the Kansas City metro area had canceled classes for the festivities. Players were still on the stage of the victory rally when the shooting happened.

A 10-year-old who was also wounded in the shooting, Samuel Arellano, told CNN affiliate KSHB he knew to hide because of the active shooter training he got at school.

“They showed me what to do — duck down, hide, don’t run,” he told the station.

The boy said he ran to hide behind a trash can, but was still hit. “One of them hit me while I tried to face toward my grandpa and my uncle and my cousin,” Samuel said.

“It felt like getting stabbed,” he said, describing the wound that his family said narrowly missed his lungs.

“It could’ve been inches from my whole future,” the child said.

NFL stars comforted children as they took cover

After the shooting started, NFL stars who had been celebrating with the fans became sources of comfort for them – particularly the children.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Trey Smith said he took cover in a closet with others at the event when he heard the gunfire, pulling a child to safety with him.

“There’s like a little kid in front of me, so I just grabbed him — just yanked him — (and) was telling him, ‘You’re hopping in here with me, buddy,’” Smith told ABC.

After authorities cleared them to leave the closet, they walked to the team buses, which quickly filled with the frightened attendees.

Smith, who had been carrying a World Wrestling Entertainment championship belt as a prop through the Super Bowl parade, noticed a small boy who he said was panicked.

Smith said he handed the child the belt, telling him, “‘Hey, buddy, you’re the champion. No one’s gonna hurt you. No one’s gonna hurt you, man. We got your back.’”

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed also described trying to help children who surrounded him as he took cover in the basement of a building, the player told ESPN’s Hannah Storm on Thursday.

“I tried to comfort them in that situation. Just tell them everything is OK. Just rubbing their back(s) and just be like, ‘Everything’s going to be fine,’” he said.

“It’s very sad,” he told ESPN. “Just for the kids. They are trying to celebrate something, a big accomplishment for us. We were just trying to celebrate it with them, and for that to happen is very tragic.”

CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Dakin Andone, Shimon Prokupecz, Josh Campbell, Chris Boyette, Andi Babineau, Rebekah Riess, Sara Smart, Jamiel Lynch, Jillian Sykes, Kyle Feldscher, Matias Grez, Amanda Jackson, Raja Razek, Sarah Dewberry, Hannah Rabinowitz, Holmes Lybrand and Sara Smart contributed to this report.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Kansas City vigil

**This image is for use with this specific article only** People attend a candlelight vigil at Skywalk Memorial Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday.

Emmalee Reed/CNN

16 Feb 24

Kansas City vigil

**This image is for use with this specific article only** People hold candles during a vigil in Kansas City on Thursday.

Emmalee Reed/CNN

16 Feb 24

Kansas City parade shooting

**This image is for use with this specific article only** Cleanup underway at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday.

Emmalee Reed/CNN/Emmalee Reed/CNN

16 Feb 24

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