‘Blood everywhere’: Kids ducked for cover during shooting outside KC community center

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Southeast Community Center near 63rd Street and Jackson Avenue played host to another night of Mayor’s Night Hoops on Tuesday. 

One day prior, a shooting right outside landed two people in the hospital.

“To me, actually we need to be here,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “We need to be here tonight after the incidents we saw. We need to make sure that we’re in every neighborhood saying that our neighborhoods and our young people aren’t defined by violence. They’re not defined by the problems in Kansas City. They’re defined by opportunity.”

Michele Strong said her grandchildren were playing on the outdoor courts nearby and were sent ducking for cover when the shooting happened in the parking lot.

“[My granddaughter] said, ‘Nana the guy was bleeding, blood everywhere,” Strong said.

Strong said her grandchildren, a 5-year-old girl and two 13-year-old boys, were playing with an adult family member when the shooting started Monday night.

She received a call from a stranger saying everyone was safe, but they’d been through quite an ordeal.

“He was really scared because he said he was trying to tell his nephew and his son, stepson, to take cover, you know run, instead of telling them to drop because the bullets were going between the court and in the parking lot,” Strong said. “They were just going everywhere.”

Officers say people were inside the community center when the shots rang out. Off-duty officers heard what happened and responded.

Police said one person was detained. On Tuesday, Kansas City police said the two victims were released from the hospital.

Strong said her teen grandsons once wanted to be a part of Mayor’s Night Hoops. And although Lucas said Tuesday night’s event signaled a community moving on, it’s not the same for this family.

“We’re probably not going to go back there,” Strong said.

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