Safety concerns continue at Westport despite city ordinance to boost security

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – People who visit Westport are questioning the security in the entertainment district after two me were shot early Sunday morning.

It happened near Westport and Pennsylvania around 2:45 a.m., an area where some sidewalks were privatized in April to cut down on violence in the area.

According to charging documents Davontae McCutchen, 24, shot into a crowd of about 50-60 people, striking two victims. He was later arrested after running from police.

“Anyone could come in with a gun,” said Chelsea McDaniel, who visits the Westport about once a month.

In December, city council approved an ordinance that requires anyone visiting the area weekend nights, between 11 pm and 4 a.m., near Pennsylvania - from West 40th to Archibald - and Westport - from Broadway to Mill - to be carded and go through a metal detector.

“I usually get stopped at the street corner,” said McDaniel. “It’s literally everything about my ID and if I’m of age.”

Those security measures failed Sunday when two men were shot. One of the victims was grazed by a bullet. His friend was shot in the neck; they had been out celebrating a new job promotion.

“That’s nuts, that’s sad,” said Joei Alvarado, who had lunch with her husband in Westport Sunday afternoon.

Alvarado has lived in KC all her life but said Westport is not her family’s scene after dark.

“There’s no structure, no rules,” said Alvarado. “Anything goes and that’s not where we want to be.”

The Westport Regional Business League issued the following statement regarding the shooting and security concerns:

"Westport wishes the two people injured last night a speedy recovery. We are saddened that gun violence continues throughout our nation as well as here at home. We remain eager to start screening for weapons in the core pedestrian areas to enhance existing safety and security measures once all of the city requirements are met. We are hopeful that the outstanding requirements can be met later this summer and screening for weapons can finally begin."

“Obviously, there needs to be true policy and procedure to what’s going on down here as far as security goes,” said Alvarado.

Westport Regional Business League would not elaborate on what “outstanding requirements” need to be met but expects to have the metal detectors in place by late summer.

“I don’t think anything’s going to change unless they start to do metal detectors when you come into the street, instead of just being carded,” said McDaniel.

One of the victims of Sunday’s shooting, who did not want to be identified, said no one will be safe in Westport until metal detectors are in place and security finds a way to remove cars that are parked inside the zoned-off district entirely.

A second man, Anthony Boykin, 26, was also arrested around the time of the shooting and was charged with being a felon in possession of a gun.

It's unclear what led McCutchen to shoot at the crowd.