Blue Springs man charged with killing two people outside discount smoke shop

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Blue Springs man is charged with killing two people outside a Kansas City smoke shop.

Howard Ray Stephenson, 43, faces two counts of first degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action.

The killings occurred about 8:30 p.m. on April 29, in the parking lot of a discount smokes shop near Blue Parkway and Hardesty Avenue in east Kansas City.

Witnesses told police Stephenson and a group of people with him got into a an argument with Jaron Syrus and Qwentelia Vanzant.

The argument escalated to a fight and a witness said Syrus, 25, pulled a handgun, according to court documents.

Someone knocked the gun out of Syrus' hand and the weapon was picked up by Marcus Stephenson, court documents said.

Howard Stephenson told Marcus to give him the gun.

Howard Stephenson allegedly shot Syrus several times as he lay on the ground, court documents state.

Stephenson then turned the gun on Vanzant and allegedly shot her.

The two were shot in front of their children, court documents state.

Syrus told police Stephenson shot him just before he died.

More than a dozen shell casings were found at the crime scene.


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