A night of fun turned into a night of fear as a teen party ended with five people shot in southeast Kansas City early Sunday.
The parking lot at the Tropical Palms was littered with blood, cans and crime tape.
Shots rang out as dozens of youth were packed into the Tropical Palms Banquet Hall. An argument inside the club resulted in gunfire with the gun battle spilling out into the parking lot where more shots were fired.
Police were called to the banquet hall at 84th Street and Hillcrest Road just before midnight after someone started shooting inside the building where about 150 teenagers had been attending a concert.
"The investigation is in its early stages," said Sgt. Marisa Barnes, a police spokeswoman. "There are three victims who are in serious but stable condition, and two that are in critical but stable condition."
A police report released Monday shows the victims were born in 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1997.
A 20-year-old woman was shot in the hand while standing by her vehicle. She said she had heard five shots.
A 20-year-old man was shot in his lower back while he also was in the parking lot. He said he heard up to eight shots.
"He then fell to the ground, tried to get up and felt a pain in his lower back," according to the police report. "He started yelling for help."
A 17-year-old boy said he was inside the club when he heard two shots. He ran to his vehicle and heard more gunshots.
"He exited his vehicle to go back inside the location, but noticed he had been shot and hit the ground," the police report said. The teen was shot in the neck.
The other two victims, who are 20 and 15 years old, were rushed to the hospital and police are still gathering information on their circumstances.
Part of the agreement for holding an event at the Tropical Palms is providing adequate security. A security guard at the club said he had checked would-be patrons for weapons before they entered the club. He said he had gotten to the club late and about 50 youth were already inside when he arrived.
He said he heard up to 15 shots outside. He saw a driver of a silver Honda Civic firing shots while fleeing the scene.
Several vehicles were hit by the gunfire.
The owner of the banquet hall said Sunday that he was not sure how many security guards were working Saturday night, but he does believe the building's cameras caught most of the incident on video.
When reached on Monday, the owners declined comment, citing the pending criminal investigation.
Police are reviewing the surveillance video and interviewing witnesses who described seeing four people flee the scene after the shooting
This is the second time in five years that a shooting at the club has seen multiple victims. In 2008, Dion Wiley, 20, was killed and five others injured.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James said municipal employees and police will work to ensure all laws were followed by the club owners. But he said safety questions clearly must be addressed.
"I think what will happen is there will be some lawyers filing lawsuits for these kids, and there's no better way to end bad behavior than to have a big judgment for an insurance company that doesn't want to insure you anymore," the mayor said.
Kansas City Council members will examine whether venues hosting large youth events need to get special permits and submit a safety plan. The promoters of the event reportedly did not have the required permit from the city.
James was critical of the idea of young teens out at 3 a.m. with adults. He said it was a recipe for disaster. He said the city can't be a babysitter and parents need to know where their children are and be involved in their lives.
"What brilliant idea was that?" he asked. "If I had a 14, 15, 16-year-old out at 3 in the morning, I'm on the phone checking, I'm sitting up in the house, I'm kind of wondering where the heck is child?"
He said area leaders must find ways to offer children opportunities and jobs, particularly in the south and east neighborhoods of the city.
The city is increasing its parking fines in order to double its funding to $500,000 for youth programming in an effort to offer safe and fun places for children to hang out.
"We're trying to do as much as we can for kids," the mayor. "But we need help."
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