National attention of Kansas City highway shootings could harm KC’s image

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Leaders from Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Jackson County and Johnson County, Kan., gathered at Sporting Park Thursday to contribute public money to Kansas City's campaign to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Some are concerned that the recent shooting spree on the metro area's highways and roads may harm our image as a safe and secure setting for such a big national event.

With police now saying there may be about 20 roadway shooting incidents in the last month or so currently under investigation for possible connections, it might be hard to roll out the red carpet for political leaders with one or more roving shooters running around.

At the event announcing bi-state cooperation and taxpayer money to help lure Republicans to Kansas City in 2016, Mayor Sly James told reporters that he's not concerned safety and security of the metro area is going to dissuade convention decision makers.

Since March, police say one or more individuals have been shooting at vehicles on some of the most heavily traveled highways in the metro area.

Mayor James says this type of crime happens in other urban environments, and he's confident it won't prevent Republicans from choosing to come to Kansas City.

"There is no city in the country that is immune to this," James said. "This isn't the first time in this country. This isn't the first time in the last couple of years where there's been somebody doing exactly the same thing. I talked to ATF yesterday and heard they had been involved in doing something in Michigan, tracking down somebody in Michigan doing the same things. No I don't think that's going to be an issue."

James called the shooting spree investigation an anomaly and says it should not be overemphasized. He says the investigation is getting national attention because these sorts of crimes don't happen very often in any city.

Other political leaders involved in the effort to get the Republican convention here didn't want to address crime in their communities at the event.

Mayor Mark Holland of the Unified Government declined to speak to FOX 4 News about the death of a 7-year-old girl in his city Wednesday, which was the result of a police pursuit initiated over a traffic stop.

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