KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Gunfire erupted as hundreds of young people left a party at a Knights of Columbus hall early Sunday, killing two men and injuring nine, some critically, police said.
An officer handling a traffic accident heard several gunshots around 1 a.m. from near the fraternal lodge, located behind a commercial strip on a busy street in south Kansas City.
The victims were discovered after the people and vehicles cleared the area, police said in a news release.
A 20-year-old man was found dead in a parking lot adjacent to the hall and a second man, also 20, died several hours later at a hospital, police said. Two others remained in hospitals with life-threatening gunshot wounds.
Seven others were treated at hospitals for non-life threatening injuries, police said.
No arrests had been made by late Sunday morning, and the victims' names had not been released. Phone messages left at the Knights of Columbus were not returned Sunday morning.
The Knights of Columbus hall, which is sometimes rented out for private gatherings, sits behind a hair salon and a bar called D'Angelo's Lounge.
Dan Blevins, 58, was at D'Angelo's on Saturday night and said parking lots on both sides of the street began filling up about 10:30 p.m. with young people milling around and leaning against cars. The bartender called police, who arrived around 11 p.m. and left a short time later, he said.
Then, around 1 a.m., "We see people diving to the ground, and it sounds like firecrackers," Blevins said. The bartender locked the door, and they watched as emergency vehicles arrived and people were carried off on stretchers.
Blevins returned to the site Sunday morning to retrieve his pickup truck from an area that police had taped off after the shootings.
"I wasn't worried my truck. I was worried for my life and my friend's life," he said, referring to the bartender.