Homeless man charged in fatal stabbing in KC's West Bottoms area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An argument outside a West Bottoms convenience store Wednesday night ended with a woman dead and a homeless man in jail.

Panom Gai, a 48-year-old man from the Sudan, was charged Friday in Jackson County Court with second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of assault, according to court documents.

Gai is accused of stabbing and killing Cynthia L. Thomas, 47, in the chest with a foot-long knife on the end of a cane.

The stabbing happened about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at 1509 W. 12th Street.

A witness told police he was pumping gas into his vehicle when he heard the sound of an argument, according to court documents.

He said he saw a man with a cane jab it at Thomas and a man with Thomas.

Surveillance video from a nearby business captured the three outside a convenience store when the stabbing happened.

The video shows Gai thrust the cane with the knife at Thomas and her companion, according to court documents.

Both victims staggered to the front of the store and collapsed.

Thomas died at the scene. 

The man with her suffered critical injuries.

Both also were homeless.

Police found Gai Thursday afternoon at a large storage container at 1202 Genessee Street just a short distance from where the murder occurred.

Gai told police he didn't speak much English and a Sudanese interpreter came to help, according to court documents.

Gai invoked his right to attorney and detectives stopped questioning Gai.

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