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Death of Buddies owner in KCMO house explosion ruled homicide, police say

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 19:10:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City police on Monday officially identified the man killed in an April home explosion as the owner of a Midtown bar, and said his death was a homicide.

Melvin Mecker, who went by Lee Mecker, died in the fire and explosion at a home in Northeast Kansas City on April 10, a police spokesman said. His cause of death is still unknown, though police have now ruled it a homicide.

Mecker owned Buddies, a gay bar at 3715 Main St. His friends identified him as the victim shortly after his body was found in the rubble of the home near East 15th Terrace and Fremont Avenue.

Kansas City Fire Department Deputy Chief Jimmy Walker said in April that power and gas had been shut off to the house, but there were generators and possibly gasoline present on the property.

Kansas City police initially called it a “death investigation.”

Buddies permanently closed after Mecker's death.