Man charged in fatal shootings outside smoke shop

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Howard Stephenson

Howard Stephenson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Blue Springs man has been charged in the double shooting and murder on Monday of Qwentelia Vanzant and Jaron Syrus.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Friday Howard Ray Stepehnson, 43, faces two counts of first degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action.

According to court records, police found the victims in  the parking lot of a business at 5401 Blue Parkway, both shot multiple times.

Multiple shell casings were found in the parking lot.

Witnesses say Howard Ray Stephenson and others were in a fight with the victims when Syrus lost possession of a handgun, dropping it to the ground. Stephenson shot both victims with the handgun.

A video of the shooting shows Syrus being shot while on the ground and Vanzant shot multiple times from several feet away.

Prosecutors requested a cash bond of $250,000.

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