KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man visiting Kansas City on a business trip is now having second thoughts about coming back to the Plaza, after he became the victim of a violent armed robbery.
Police said he was one of several people robbed at gunpoint during a crime spree that took place over a 90-minute period early Wednesday morning.
“I always thought it was a really, really nice neighborhood, a really nice part of town,” said Brandon Dunphy of the Country Club Plaza and surrounding area. “I never would’ve expected anything like that to ever happen there.”
Dunphy lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, but was in Kansas City this week for a business trip.
He was staying at the Embassy Suites near 43rd and JC Nichols Parkway, and decided to take a late-night stroll before bed.
But his walk was interrupted when an armed robber – later identified by police to be 21-year-old Ezekiel Reed-Williams – approached him at the intersection and told him to hand over his wallet.
“He ran up to me with a gun and he asked me and told me to give him my wallet, and I said, ‘No,’” Dunphy recalled. “Even with a gun pointed at me, I just said, ‘No.’”
Dunphy said at first, he wasn't convinced the robbery was real and thought it might be a joke.
“It was surreal,” he said. “I don`t know how to describe the feeling. It just didn’t even seem real at the time. And I know many people say that over and over again, but it didn’t. It just, it felt like this wasn’t happening.”
But his resistance soon led to violence, as Dunphy got pistol-whipped over the head and hit in the face with a handgun.
“That’s when he came and he hit me again here in the mouth,” Dunphy said, “and I realized at that moment that what he wanted was for me to go down in some way. He couldn’t get the wallet, so he just wanted me to go down. So I did, I just went down to the ground.”
A quick call to 911 got police on scene immediately, and officers were able to track down and arrest Reed-Williams in a matter of minutes.
“I wanted to thank the police officers, they were fantastic,” Dunphy said as he held back tears. “Being alone and in a different city, they really helped.”
But police said Dunphy's robbery wasn't the only one that night, as at least three other robberies were reported in the Plaza and Westport areas.
Other victims told FOX 4 they were punched or hit with guns, as two or three suspects stole their handbags, phones or wallets. At least one of them admits he was playing Pokemon Go at the time he was targeted.
“It really made me think twice about whether or not I want to stay in that area the next time I come to Kansas City,” Dunphy said. “I hate to say that, but that`s the truth. It makes me wonder about that neighborhood.”
Reed-Williams is now facing criminal charges for attempted robbery and assault. But police are still looking for the suspects wanted in the other robberies.
So if you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at (816) 474-TIPS.