33-year-old charged in shooting of 9-year-old girl on 40 Highway in Independence

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A Kansas City North man is now facing charges in the shooting of a 9-year-old girl Friday on 40 Highway, prosecutors announced Monday.

Steven G. Abernathy Jr. has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action in Jackson County.

Steven Abernathy faces three felony charges related to an Independence shooting where he’s accused of hurting a 9-year-old.

Court documents say the 33-year-old knowingly shot multiple times at a vehicle occupied by two adults and two children, ages 1 and 9. The 9-year-old girl was hit by gunfire in the lower back and suffered injuries to her colon and pelvis.

The shooting began on 40 Highway near V’s Italiano Ristorante in Independence and continued down the highway toward Sterling Avenue.

Witnesses told police that an associate of Abernathy’s has been involved in an ongoing dispute with the girl’s family, prosecutors said. One witness said another person in Abernathy’s car had previously tried to rob the family at gunpoint, and someone shot in self defense, according to the witness.

On Friday night, Abernathy and his associates were in a vehicle near the QuikTrip on 40 Highway when they came across the girl’s family.

Abernathy’s associates began to follow the family’s vehicle, and they said he began to shoot, court documents say. The witnesses said they did not see anyone from the family’s car firing back.

Abernathy turned himself in, according to Kansas City police, after a “person of interest” advisory was released Sunday. He refused to provide a statement to Independence police.

Prosecutors have requested a $100,000 bond for Abernathy.

FOX4 has an interview with the girl’s mother Monday. Hear her perspective on the shooting on FOX4 News at 5 and 6 p.m.

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