Teenager charged following shooting disturbance at Kansas City Zoo

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Witnesses reported hearing at least four gunshots fired last week in the parking lot of the Kansas City Zoo, and on Tuesday it was announced that a 16-year-old boy was charged with three criminal counts related to the incident. The teenager has been charged with possession of a handgun, a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct and a probation violation.

He is still in custody of the Office of the Juvenile Officer of Jackson County, which charged him with the offenses on March 19, a day after the incident. Police said that no injuries were reported, but as many 10 people were originally arrested in the midst of the commotion. The charges announced Tuesday are the only set of charges to be filed against anyone related to this incident to date.

The shooting happened just before 4 p.m. at about the time the zoo was closing on a free admission day. Close to 19,000 people were streaming through the exits when a large fight broke out between two groups of people.

“The pathways got full. We had a little pushing and shoving inside,” said KC Zoo Director Randy Wistoff. “The police asked some people to move outside and we had some issues out in our parking lot.”

The majority of the crowd was made up of kids that ranged from elementary school ages up to high school, and many were there without parents. Police used pepper spray to subdue the crowds.

“When they started fighting, police pepper sprayed in the air and kids was choking and what not,” said 18-year-old Breonna Henry. “We don’t need no more free days, everybody needs to pay their amount to get in.”

Wistoff said the zoo is reexamining operations to ensure an incident like this isn’t repeated. Because the accused is a juvenile, he will not be identified. His formal arraignment is set for April 10.

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  • Ken Browning

    Charge him as an adult and thorw in a major felony count so we can get this little pig ff the street early. A slap on the wrist clearly hasn’t cut it since this is not his first rodeo.

    • Bob

      Charge his parents and all parents of kids who commit gun violence crimes! don’t let a single kid into the zoo that’s under 18 the voters voted on the bond not the kids so the zoo is not to become a free babysitting venue on free day this is what happened to the bannister mall the parents just sent the kids there and they become scary unruly now there is no mall!

      • WhySoSerious

        “The majority of the crowd was made up of kids that ranged from elementary school ages up to high school, and many were there without parents.”

        Those people refer to “THOSE PEOPLE” who dropped there kids off and left! Black, White, Mexican, whoever!

        Stop trying to race bait! Try reading the story before correcting my “COMMENTS”

  • Terry Roberts

    Where did the gun come from? Is it a parents gun, or is it stolen? I think a new law should be enacted, that if a youngster takes a gun from home and is caught with it or commits a crime with it then it’s the parents fault and they should be prosecuted too. Parents keep your guns locked up and quit giving your kids easy access to them. If it’s stolen then this kid needs to be tried as an adult. Quit slapping them on the hands and saying “now little johnny, you can’t do that” and start punishing them totally. It’s time for parents to stand up to their kids and take back the family. Stop being afraid of punishing them and judges and social workers quit all the abuse bull. I’m not saying let abuse run wild, but take it on a case by case and let the circumstances and the punishment fit the crime. I was spanked when I was young, I spanked my kids when they were young and they all grew up to be respectful and not be in trouble.

  • WhySoSerious

    “The majority of the crowd was made up of kids that ranged from elementary school ages up to high school, and many were there without parents.”

    THOSE PEOPLE refer to THOSE PEOPLE who dropped their kids off and left! Stop race baiting and read the story before you correct my “comments”!

  • Joe

    Where did he get the gun and where are his parents? If the police would arrest the boy along with his parents, perhaps his parents will wake up, sober up, dry out and start doing their job. If not, let them pay the price of child neglect and whatever other charges they deserve. I would not be surprised if the police would find a crack rock on the table if they went to visit mom and dad.

  • Joe

    Why do the majority of these gun incidents involve black people? Even the illegal Mexicans behave better than the black citizens. And are there no asians living in this city? When was the last time you heard of an asian involved in a shoot out? It must have something to do with their home life and how they are NOT being properly raised, supervised, and trained. Could it be that ignorance cannot teach common sense and proper behavior?

  • Ang

    Well saint Louis zoo is free and you don’t hear anything like this not everyone is able to afford to pay for their whole family to get in. Make it to where the kids have to be with a parent at least..

  • michele.mccuen@yahoo.com

    I agree I live in clay county and we always wait for that one free day to go to the Zoo. we are a family of 5 and sometimes it is hard to pay to get into the zoo. But yes 18 and under needs to have an parent. Think we need more security or maybe KCPD acting in Civilian clothes to watch out for trouble makers. the 16 year old can not be charged as an adult unless he kills someone.

  • Phillip

    Instead of free day for all why can’t the zoo send out 5 passes (to include up to 4 people per pass and can be used any time that year) to people wo pay there property taxes ever year.