Man charged in Independence shooting that injured 9-year-old girl

V's restaurant shooting
Posted at 3:45 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 17:29:03-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, North, man was charged Monday in connection with a rolling gun battle in Independence that injured a 9-year-old girl.

Steven Abernathy Jr., 33, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said.

According to prosecutors, Abernathy fired multiple shots into a car with two adults, the 9-year-old girl and a 1-year-old infant inside.

The older child was struck in the lower back by gunfire. She was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries and later upgraded to stable condition. She suffered injuries to her colon and a fractured pelvis, according to court records.

The incident, which began shortly before 8 p.m. Friday at the Quik Trip at 11101 E. U.S. 40 in Independence, stemmed from an "ongoing feud" over a shooting that occurred during an attempted robbery in June 2019, according to police interviews with people in both vehicles.

When the two groups encountered each other at the Quik Trip, the suspect vehicle, a black Dodge Durango, took off after the vehicle with the children inside, a gray Acura TL.

The driver of the Acura drove to an apartment complex behind V’s Italiano Ristorante, located a block west of Sterling Avenue on U.S. 40 in Independence.

According to court records, surveillance video captured a man in the Dodge Durango firing multiple shots at the other vehicle, which fled after the gunfire started.

After realizing the 9-year-old had been shot, the driver of the Acura went to a nearby Walmart and dropped off the two children and their mother. The driver said he was afraid that the suspects may still be in the area. He later abandoned the car, which had been reported stolen in Kansas City, Kansas, in October.

Over the weekend, Independence police were seeking four people of interest who were in the Dodge Durango. Two of those people came forward and identified Abernathy as the only shooter. The driver of the vehicle also said that Abernathy pressured him into following the other vehicle from the Quik Trip.

Both people said that no one in the other vehicle returned fire, according to court records.

Abernathy turned himself in to police on Sunday. He has previously served time in federal penitentiary for drug and firearm violations, according to records.

Prosecutors requested a $100,000 bond.

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