KC gang ‘truce’ set to expire Thursday

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Is gang violence on the decline in Kansas City? A community activist says yes, thanks to a "truce" by major Kansas City gangs.

However, that truce is set to expire Friday and efforts were underway on Thursday to not let that happen.

"If this truce, this treaty does not happen, we go back to two years ago. We remember two years ago in Kansas City -- all the rolling gun battles, firing off shots randomly into crowds, trying to hit one person... we can't have that again," said Rev. Tony Caldwell.

Caldwell is passionate about his desire to stop the violence. He says a morning session with members of several gangs went well.

"What we consider turf, they consider zones. They have certain areas in KC that they're allowed to go into and not allowed to go into. So that got hashed out this morning, more than anything else."

The evening session was planned near 31st and Troost in Kansas City, learning about what community services are available for those who want out.

It didn't go quite as planned.

"We went down, met with them and they said, 'Hey, we'll still do it, but not under these circumstances at the moment.'"

Those "circumstances" were several officers from the police department who showed up.

"As you know, some of these people in the higher up of the gangs didn't want to be talked to by them at all, and I can understand the police department coming themselves; they want to be a part of it."

The possible gathering of rival gang members was a concern to police, but they didn't show up to arrest anyone or stop the meeting.

Caldwell said he explained to gang members and the summit was moved to an undisclosed location.

"When we go into this tonight, at midnight, we're not going into it lightly. Everybody else will be at home asleep,  but we have to make sure the next two years stay safe here in Kansas City."

Caldwell said he hopes to get police involved down the road, but said his first priority is making sure the truce happens.

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