BELTON, Mo. — Neighbors in one quiet Cass County town are stunned.
Easter Sunday turned bloody on Spring Street after Belton police officers shot a man who, according to neighbors, threatened officers with a knife.
Multiple neighbors said that same man threatened one family that he would kill them, including their two-year-old daughter, and burn the family’s house to the ground.
Alanna Sapenaro, who’s lived on Spring Street since October, said that man from across the street appeared a few weeks ago. Sapenaro, whose family is biracial, said the man slashed the tires on one of her family’s cars and tried to break through the home’s front door.
“He threatened to kill me and my family,” Sapanero said, speaking exclusively with FOX4.
“He was yelling some racial slurs at our house and our family and how we didn’t belong here. He just kept going and we asked him to leave,” she said.
Down the street, cellphone cameras were recording as Belton Police officers made multiple stops at the house where the knife-wielding man lived. Police were summoned to that area on three occasions Sunday, beginning around 3:30 p.m. and finally around 11:15 p.m., according to Sapenaro.
That man’s name isn’t known by neighbors, and FOX4’s requests for his identity from Belton Police weren’t granted.
Sapenaro said the man smelled of alcohol, as he pounded his fists into her family’s trash cans and threatened the two-year-old to her face.
Neighbors told FOX 4 News the man shouted, “I run this block,” as he ranted in the street.
Police shot him when, during the 11:15 p.m. visit to the home, he refused to leave the house. Sapanero said that’s when officers entered the home and were forced to defend themselves.
“We heard blood-curdling screams from the woman who lives there. The cops rushed in, and you heard their shots,” Sapanero said Monday.
Sapanero said she watched as the man died in the ambulance parked in the street. Other families on Spring Street witnessed the arguing and police activity, too, saying police handled the situation as best they could.
“The gentleman across the street was yelling profanities at the neighbors,” said Gert Curtis who was spending the Easter holiday with family members in Belton.
“The one lady told him to get back across the street because he was scaring her children,” Curtis said. “That’s when I told my brother to call the cops. We saw them coming down the road, so someone had already called.”
“(The man with the knife) was very connected to being racist,” Sapanero said. “He made that well-known about us being here that we were not OK or safe.”
Sapenaro said her family had never had trouble with the man in the past. On Sunday, she says she feared for her family’s lives, and she’s thankful to Belton Police for keeping everyone safe.
The woman living in the home, who didn’t identify herself, returned to the house Monday afternoon, telling FOX4 she’s doing as best she can, given the circumstances.