Community looking at ways to make 18th and Vine District safer after weekend deadly shooting

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Crime tape and bullet holes are left behind on the corner of 19th and Vine painting the picture of what Kansas City Police say was a large and chaotic fatal shooting scene.

Police said an argument inside one establishment, led to four people shot. Gary Taylor, a 34-year-old personal trainer and business owner was shot and died at the hospital.

“Too much stupidity and nothing was really worked out and now you have a mother and son have to bury a father,” Isaiah Thomas, who frequents the 18th and Vine District said. “It’s different ways how we can change the community instead of violence, our fists, our hands, it just hurts and it’s a lot.”

The Sunday night shooting renews conversations about how to stop gun violence in the historic Jazz District. Last June, seven people were shot in four separate incidents on the same day at 18th and Vine.

“It’s a combination of what could stop the murders but then our leadership has to be willing to get out here and talk to the people,” James Watts, ombudsman at Black Archives of Mid-America said.

Dr. Carmaletta Williams co-chair of the 18th and Vine development policy committee says there is an ongoing conversation about how to make the community safer. She says businesses are responsible for hiring private security which could be costly for some.

“Security guards of course, and there may have to be some other things done,” Williams said. “My suggestion is metal detectors but how do you that? We have to have a secure environment.”

Visitors in the Westport Entertainment District walk through metal detectors on weekends between April and October. Some say that won’t stop the violence alone.

“There’s metal detectors in high schools metal detectors in establishments and there’s still a way to get around them,” Isaiah Jones said.

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