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Attorney breaks down legal details in deadly Chiefs rally shooting

KC Attorney David Bell
Posted at 10:26 PM, Feb 21, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — To put it simply - the investigation and subsequent legal cases around Kansas City, Missouri's, latest mass shooting are complicated.

The gunfire happened as thousands of people were trying to leave as the rally ended, dozens were injured and two juveniles are charged in the case.

Kansas City Attorney David Bell says ironing out wrinkles in those stories takes time.

"All of that complicates it exponentially," Bell said.

Bell explained why prosecutors may have chosen the legal route they did.

"A standard murder charge would be to knowingly fire a gun at someone and killing them," he said. "But in this case, the person that fired the gun likely didn't know the victim, wasn't intending to kill the victim. So what do you do?"

The option prosecutors chose is unlawful use of a weapon combined with felony murder, described as a felony that leads to death.

That's distinctly different from intentionally killing someone.

"And that murder is the same level as if someone took a gun and meant to kill that person," Bell said. "The benefit of it to a prosecutor is the prosecutor only has to prove that they fired a gun into a crowd of people, which is what they're charged with, and that a death resulted from that. Which we know, at least from the evidence they present in the probable cause statement, they believe they can prove."

But it won't be that simple.

"The difficulty here is self-defense," Bell said. "In looking at the complaint and the probable cause statement, it appears that at least two individuals had guns. And it appears that one may have been pulling a gun or shooting in response to another. So the issue of self-defense is going to come in this as well.”

That's why there's been a call for more witnesses and victims injured in the violence to come forward.

Bell believes that will better tell the story of what happened, and to help provide a fuller picture of the impact of the shooting.

"There's a desire on all of our parts to have this solved. A horrific thing happened and as a member of the community we want it done," Bell said. "And creating that more complete picture is, I think, a benefit to all of us that want to see justice in this case."