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Kansas City shooting was not an act of terrorism or homegrown violence, say police

People flee after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl victory parade on Feb.14 in Kansas City, Mo.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
AFP via Getty Images
People flee after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl victory parade on Feb.14 in Kansas City, Mo.

Updated February 15, 2024 at 1:20 PM ET

Wednesday's shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl celebration does not appear to have been an act of terrorism or homegrown domestic violence, according to the city's police chief.

"This appeared to be a dispute between several people that ended in gun violence," Kansas City, Mo., Police Chief Stacey Graves said Thursday at a briefing for the media.

Three suspects have been detained following the shooting, which left one person dead and at least 22 others injured. Graves said that two of the suspects were juveniles. No suspect has yet been charged.

The shooting happened outside Union Station in Kansas City at the conclusion of a celebration for the Chiefs' Super Bowl win Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers.

Graves said that the 23 victims ranged in age from 8 to 47 and that at least half were under age 16. This number includes the one fatality: 43-year-old Elizabeth Galvan — who has also been identified as Lisa Lopez-Galvan — a DJ at local radio station KKFI and a mother of two.

"It is with sincere sadness and an extremely heavy and broken heart that we let our community know that KKFI DJ Lisa Lopez-Galvan, host of Taste of Tejano lost her life today in the shooting at the KC Chiefs' rally. Our hearts and prayers are with her family," the station said in a Facebook post on Wednesday night.

"This senseless act has taken a beautiful person from her family and this KC Community," the statement added.

One suspect was captured after a foot chase with officers, according to Graves.

"I'm angry at what happened today," Graves told reporters on Wednesday. "The people who came to this celebration should expect a safe environment."

"This is not Kansas City," she added at the end of the news conference.

At least one firearm has been recovered, she said.

People take cover during a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory parade on Feb. 14 in Kansas City, Mo.
Jamie Squire / Getty Images
Getty Images
People take cover during the shooting at Union Station shortly following the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl victory parade on Feb. 14 in Kansas City, Missouri.

"The Super Bowl is the most unifying event in America," President Biden said in a statement on Wednesday. "For this joy to be turned to tragedy today in Kansas City cuts deep in the American soul. Today's events should move us, shock us, shame us into acting."

Vice President Harris said on X on Wednesday, "Today was supposed to be a day of celebration and joy in Kansas City. Instead, it is another day where America has experienced senseless gun violence. It doesn't have to be this way.

It's unclear yet how many fans attended the celebration, but NPR member station KCUR said that during last year's victory parade, close to 1 million people flooded downtown for the rally.

In preparation for the expected crowd size Wednesday, 800 law enforcement officers were on scene for the parade, Graves said. The heavy police presence helped in guiding fans to safety once the shooting began and also in administering lifesaving aid to gunshot victims, she said.

The shooting, west of Union Station, started right after the parade rally with Chiefs players including Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce had ended, Graves said. Videos of the scene shared on social media show crowds of people running away from Union Station as officers rush in.

A law enforcement officer looks around the scene after a shooting following the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday.
Charlie Riedel / AP
A law enforcement officer looks around the scene after the shooting following the Kansas City Chiefs' victory parade on Wednesday.

Many families were in attendance

KCUR reported thatChildren's Mercy Hospital received 12 patients from the rally, 11 of them children and nine of them with gunshot wounds. Fire Chief Ross Grundyson couldn't immediately confirm the ages of the victims, but doctors and administrators at Children's Mercy confirmed at a news conference that they treated the children and their ages ranged from 6 to 15.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said during Wednesday's news conference that he had debated bringing his own child to the celebration. He was at the parade along with his wife and mother, he said.

"I, like many others, ran for safety," when the shooting began, Lucas said.

In a message directed at the city's residents, the mayor said he is angry and "heartbroken."

"This is a day that a lot of people look forward to, something they remember for a lifetime. What they shouldn't have to remember is the threat of gun violence marring a day like this, injuring them and their families," he said.

Other dignitaries were at the victory rally as well.

Kansas City Chiefs fans gather at Union Station for a Super Bowl victory rally in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday.
Reed Hoffmann / AP
Kansas City Chiefs fans gather at Union Station for the Super Bowl victory rally on Wednesday.

They included Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and first lady Teresa Parson, as well as Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.

"State law enforcement personnel are assisting local authorities in response efforts. As we wait to learn more, our hearts go out to the victims," Gov. Parson posted on X.

Kelly said on X that she was evacuated from the scene and "out of harm's way."

Mayor Lucas said the Chiefs have been in contact with officials, and he shared that the team's players, coaches and staff were all accounted for and safe.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who just hours before was riding triumphantly through the city, also took to social media following news of the tragedy. He posted, "Praying for Kansas City..."

The day started off with thousands of cheering fans draped in the team's colors of red, gold and white as members of the team rode a bus through the city's downtown.

The parade was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. local time with a rally to start at Union Station right after the parade ended, around 12:45 p.m.

Police issued reports of shots fired at around 2:30 p.m. CT.

This tragedy comes after Kansas City suffered a record year for homicides in 2023, according to KCUR. Last year, 185 homicides were recorded — the most in its history and surpassing the previous record set in 2020.

Through 45 days of 2024, the shooting was already the 49th mass shooting of the year, according to figures compiled by the Gun Violence Archive. The site defines a mass shooting as any event in which four or more people are shot, whether injured or killed. It was also the third in Kansas City alone.

This is a developing story and will be updated. Follow live coverage from member station KCUR.

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Jaclyn Diaz
Jaclyn Diaz is a reporter on Newshub.
Vanessa Romo
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
Amanda Orr