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2 alleged gang members charged in January shooting at Crown Center that injured 6 people

Joel Olivas-Villanueva and Brian Favela
Crown Center Shooting.png
Posted at 4:23 PM, Feb 28, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two men affiliated with the "9th Street Mob" — a gang that operates in an east-side neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri — have been charged in connection with a shooting that injured a half-dozen people last month at Crown Center, according to court documents.

The Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that Joel Olivas, 24, and Brian Favela, 22, have been charged with 26 felony counts in connection with the mass shooting at the downtown shopping center.

Olivas and Favela face three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, six counts of armed criminal action, one count of first-degree terroristic threat, and three counts of first-degree harassment.

Favela and Olivas are being held at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center on a cash-only $500,000 bond.

Favela made his initial court appearance on Feb. 20 and has a bond-review hearing set for Thursday, while Olivas made his first appearance Tuesday in court and has a bond-review hearing set for March 7.

Both Olivas — who recorded the incident on his cell phone, according to a Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department probable cause statement — and Favela were feuding with rival members of a "west-side gang," according to court records.

Olivas and Favela learned from social media that members affiliated with a rival gang were at Crown Center.

They went there to confront them in an attempt to start an armed confrontation, according to court documents.

Olivas recorded himself following the other group yelling obscenities, using gang language and saying that "he was ready because he had a switch," a reference to the MAC-10 gun he was carrying.

He later send a text indicating that he "was smackin it out w succas in crown cenctwr," which authorities believe is an admission of his involvement in the Crown Center shooting.

Olivas was arrested the next day at KCI attempting to board a flight to Seattle, while Favela was taken into custody later that day after officers followed a vehicle from the airport to a KCMO residence.

Both were released after the investigative hold ended and subsequently charged, but the case was sealed until Olivas and Favela were arrested.

Six people were injured in a Jan. 17 shootout near the food court on the lower level of Crown Center.

Three of the shooting victims were “not involved in the disturbance between two groups,” the prosecutor’s office said in a release.

A woman at Crown Center on a double date, a woman who works in the building and a man who was there taking photos and videos for a project were among the shooting victims.

Another man eating dinner at a first-floor restaurant was struck by a bullet fragment and debris in the chest after it went through a glass window.

The investigation found 54 spent shell casings — including 9mm, .40-caliber and 7.62x39mm cartridges — along with additional live rounds on the ground inside Crown Center.

The eight spent bullets and 22 bullets fragments recovered were concentrated between The Coterie Theatre and Sheridan’s Ice Cream.

“Prosecutors worked closely with the police investigative team on the timing of criminal charges in this case to protect officer safety in taking these defendants into custody,” Baker’s office said in a statement. “The charges were placed under seal this month. The seal was lifted today.”

The shootout between rival gang members started around 5:45 p.m. when two groups of people in their late teens and early 20s got into an argument that ended in gunfire.

None of the shooting victims' injuries were considered life-threatening.

Three of the victims were found inside the doors to the indoor shopping mall and three others were taken in private vehicles to local hospitals.

The bullets also damaged nearby restaurants and businesses.

Two of the people involved in the shootout were not initially part of the disturbance, including a Crown Center security guard and an armed visitor to the indoor mall.

RELATED | Experts weigh in on security, bystander involvement after Crown Center shooting

The incident was reminiscent of a November 2023 shooting at Independence Center and a shots-fired incident a few days later at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park.

Karla Brown, a pregnant 19-year-old, died in the Independence Center shooting.

One man has been charged in her murder.

The Crown Center shooting took place roughly a month before at least 23 people were shot with another dozen injured in the chaos that ensued after a mass shooting at the end of the Super Bowl rally on Feb. 14 just west of Union Station, which is less than a mile from Crown Center.

The head of KCPD’s labor union, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 99 President Brad Lemon, criticized Baker’s office via social media five days after the Super Bowl rally shooting for not charging the suspects in the shooting yet.

Baker released a statement later that day that Lemon’s comment was “misguided and uninformed.”

The two men, Olivas and Favela, in fact, had been charged by that time, but the case remained under seal by a Jackson County judge and wasn’t lifted, allowing the prosecutor’s office to announce the charges, until Wednesday afternoon.

If you have any information about a crime, you may contact your local police department directly. But if you want or need to remain anonymous, you should contact the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com. Depending on your tip, Crime Stoppers could offer you a cash reward.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.