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Kids who ran from Chiefs parade shooting will 'deal with this for the rest of their lives,' city leader says

Wes Rogers
Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-15 18:59:24-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wes Rogers quit the Missouri state legislature nearly two years ago, in part because lawmakers refused to pass gun safety laws.

On Wednesday, Rogers was among the crowd running from the gunfire after the Chiefs Super Bowl rally.

"I saw my kids' classmates running out with their parents," Rogers said. "I saw kids that I knew running for their lives."

Rogers, now a city council member for the city of Kansas City, attended the rally with other city leaders and his wife.

"I covered my wife at one point, because we believed there was an active shooter at one point in Union Station," he said.

When parade goers heard gunshots shortly after the football players gave their speeches, dozens of people ran inside Union Station where law enforcement searched the area with their guns drawn for the shooters.

At first, people thought the threat was outside of Union Station, which it was.

But, at one point, several people thought the shooters were inside.

Amy Justis, a legislative aide for Kansas City, hid in a bathroom stall.

"We stood up to where our feet couldn't be seen," Justis said. "There was a family across from us with a newborn baby that was in hysterics, and people were talking to their families in there saying 'I love you.'"

As Justis hid from the shooters, Rogers also took cover by laying on the tile floor of Union Station.

Rogers said his memory of what exactly happened in those traumatic moments doesn't match up with what he's read about the shootings online.

As a former prosecutor, Rogers said he wouldn't be a good witness because he can't remember every detail.

But, there's one thing Rogers will never forget — the children who attended the parade so they could see their Super Bowl champions up close.

Area schools shutdown for the celebration that turned tragic.

At least nine kids were shot, all who are expected to fully physically recover.

A mother, Lisa Lopez-Galvan, died.

More than 20 people in total were struck by bullets.

"The kids that didn't get hurt, we saw them at the end of it, some of them didn't have parents with them," Rogers said.

According to Children's Mercy Hospital, some of the children who were taken there for treatment were separated from their parents during those chaotic moments.

The hospital sent out statements on social media for parents to call the hospital if they could not find their child.

The kids at the hospital were later reunited with their mom and dad.

The trauma isn't limited to the people who were shot.

"Some of them (kids) did have their parents with them and they were living out their worst fear," Rogers said. "The things they've trained for in school, because we have to train for this in schools, they're having to live with the consequences of it."

"That's day one of what's going to be a long recovery for these families," Roger said.

When KSHB 41 reached out to Rogers to learn more about what he witnessed and experienced after the parade, gun legislation was not part of the discussion.

But, that's where Rogers heart led him during the interview.

The same frustration Rogers felt as a Missouri lawmaker has now carried over into his role as a city councilman.

Rogers wants Kansas Citians to feel safe to celebrate.

"We do not have the authority in the city of Kansas City to pass gun laws; that has to come from Jefferson City," Rogers said. "So, we're going to get together at city hall, we're going to come up with every solution we have."

How that's accomplished is a bit of a mystery.

"There's nothing we can do at the city level to regulate firearms," Rogers said. "We're going to come up with other things, we're going to keep our people safe here, we're going to have to get really creative so this never happens again to anyone in our city."

As for Kansas City's children, who ran among confetti filled streets as gunshots echoed through downtown while victims were placed on stretchers and loaded into ambulances, Rogers said the road ahead is long.

"They're going to deal with this for the rest of their lives," Rogers said. "Every time they go into a crowded room, or every time they're going through these simulations they have in our society, they're going to think about the time they lived it."