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Kansas City nightclub shooter had past weapon charge dropped

9ine ultra lounge.jpg
Posted at 1:52 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 14:52:20-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A gunman who opened fire outside of a Kansas City nightclub, killing a woman and injuring at least 15 other people before a guard killed him, had a past weapons charge dropped after lawmakers loosened the state's gun laws.

Jahron Swift, 29, had been in trouble with the law before he opened fire on people leaving or waiting to get into the 9ine Ultra Lounge in eastern Kansas City late Sunday, when the city was celebrating the win that put the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

Swift was sentenced to probation for an August 2015 traffic stop in which he was caught with cocaine and a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, court documents say.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Tuesday that Swift was charged in August 2016 with a concealed weapon violation, which might have led to a probation violation that could have landed him a short stint behind bars or more probation. But the following month, Missouri's Republican-led Legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto to pass sweeping gun legislation that allowed most adults to carry concealed weapons without needing a permit.

"I have really thought about what is comparable," Baker told The Associated Press. "The only comparable I can think of is prohibition. All those whiskey charges that were pending in 1932, prosecutors couldn't carry them anymore."

Baker, who opposed the changes to the state's gun laws, said prosecutors had to "dismiss a slew of cases," including Swift's. Baker said Swift also faced a robbery charge in 2013 that prosecutors couldn't get past the preliminary hearing stage because of problems getting victims to cooperate.

"We had the double whammy of non-cooperative victims and the law change later down the road," she said. "What I used to love about these gun charges is you had police as your witnesses. We do struggle with witnesses. Then the law change took those charges away from us."

Police were trying to determine a motive for this weekend's attack, and it wasn't known if Swift knew any of the victims, including the 25-year-old Kansas City woman who was killed, Raeven Parks. Authorities haven't said how many of the injured had been shot, but three of them were in critical condition.

On Monday, Police Chief Rick Smith said the club was known to police, and a sergeant had checked on the location less than one minute before the first reports of a shooting.

Less than a week before the deadly gunfire, a person was injured in a drive-by shooting at the club in the early morning hours of Jan. 13.