Kansas City's homicide rate hits 8-year high after overnight fatal shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City police are investigating the 121st homicide of 2016, a number that hits an 8-year high.

Authorities were called to 36th and Wabash around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday following a report of shots being fired. When officers arrived on the scene, they found a man shot to death. 

The victim is being reported as an African American male in his 20s, but officials have not yet released his name.

Police searched the crime scene for evidence into the morning hours of Wednesday. 

One neighbor said she thought she heard gunfire.

"I heard at first four loud shots like boom, boom, boom, boom. Then probably 10 minutes later, I heard single pop. It sounds like it close," said Chelsea Williams.

Williams said it hit too close to home. She said her roommate's children also live with them.

The shooting death happened in an area where 74 percent of the city's homicides take place.

Law enforcement discussed the problem at the police board meeting on Tuesday.

Police Chief Darryl Forté said the area has been a problem for years.

"You look at the street lights, you look at the garbage, the dilapidated conditions and we know it. And until we do something about those things and the socioeconomic issues that are out there. We know. But we haven't put a lot of energy as a country in some of those places," said Forté.

Kansas City Police Captain Stacey Graves said they look at the overall homicide number, but still handle things individually, case by case.

"Anytime our homicide rates go up, we keep an eye on it, look for certain factors that might create those numbers to jump," said Graves.

She said they do regularly patrol high crime rate areas.

The name of the victim has not yet been released.

If you have any information about this case, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS. 

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Belinda Post can be reached at belinda.post@kshb.com.

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