‘We used to be a village’: Neighbors dismayed after 4-year-old girl hit in drive-by

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City police say there have still been no suspects arrested after the shooting of a young child Wednesday night near a playground in Oak Park.

Witnesses said a bullet hit the 4-year-old girl in the leg. She was taken to a hospital with a non-life-threatening injuries, according to KCPD.

Shelly Smith has lived in a home overlooking Oak Park for 30-some years. She said it was bad back in the day but feels worse now.

“Yesterday was one of the first times I drove down Prospect [Avenue], and I honestly felt like I was kind of worried about would it be safe for me to be going somewhere,” Smith said.

Pat Clarke, who everyone in the area knows from his involvement in the park’s basketball program and the Oak Park Neighborhood Association, said those fears — like the ones creeping into Smith’s mind — continue to be confirmed.

“Man, it was it was pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” Clarke said. “We watched the baby when she dropped.”

The shooting happened just after 6 p.m. Wednesday. Police said people in a silver four-door car started shooting at another vehicle and instead hit the little girl.

“And you hear this baby crying for people that’s not even here,” Clarke said while looking at the spot where the shooting happened near E. 43rd Street and S. Benton Avenue.

“She said, ‘I miss my grandma.’ This is the baby,” Clarke said.

Officers were in the area at the time of the shooting, and when they arrived on scene, they found the girl’s mother cradling her bleeding daughter on the ground, police said.

“You know, I’ve witnessed three shootings over here. We used to be a village. We’re no damn village no more. We’re just a bunch of people living in the same area,” Clarke said.

Smith said the situation hits her in a different way.

“I care about it because we lost our son, Justin Butler, in 2015. He was killed in a drive-by shooting, and he didn’t have anything to do with it, but it was up on 34th [Street], you know,” Smith said.

“But it just, it tears your heart up, you know, and I’ve been through that. You don’t want it. It don’t matter about what age they are. They are somebody babies,” Smith said.

FOX4 is still not aware of the extent of the child’s injuries of if they could cause any longterm problems.

If you have any information on this case, please contact the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

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