KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, police said one person may have been struck in the head Monday night during an altercation involving seven people — one armed with a machete, another with a shovel — near the City Hall homeless encampment downtown.
Security footage showed an unknown victim leaving the encampment on the south side of the 400 block of East 12th Street followed by an unknown suspect.
The suspect confronted the victim and was wielding a “large machete-style weapon,” according to a KCPD disturbance report. Several other people, including one armed with a shovel, who had been at the south-side tent area “appeared to provide back-up for the suspect.”
The group chased the victim, who the suspect later hit — possibly in the head — with the machete, according to police.
After the attack, police said, the victim left the area and the others returned to the encampment. The suspect discarded a maroon sweatshirt and the weapon before leaving the area.
KCPD officers located a crime scene on Oak Street from 11th Street south to 12th Street with pooled blood and blood spatter. Witnesses told police they saw a man bleeding from the head south of the Sprint Center, but officers were unable to locate a victim.
It was unclear from the video footage where the suspect went or where the machete was placed, but officers located the maroon sweatshirt “with apparent blood” and the machete on the south lawn area.
The incident comes amid reports that city officials have asked those in the encampment to move out. A spokesperson for Mayor Quinton Lucas’ office told 41 Action News Monday night that the city had asked those at the camps to begin doing leaving the area.
Chris Hernandez, director of city communications, said in an email Saturday that the site has had “several instances of criminal activity,” including property damage, and at least one firearm was confiscated from the encampment.
“Bodily fluids and other waste have covered the grounds, including City Hall air vents and the fountains, creating other health risks for those on site,” Hernandez said. “That’s why we have provided notice to them, including verbally during several outreach visits over several weeks, that it is time for people to take advantage of existing services in shelters and at nonprofit agencies who can provide help.”
Lucas met Tuesday morning with advocates for those experiencing homelessness, calling reports that city staff asked people to leave the encampment “noise.” He reiterated that he is focusing on long-term solutions for homelessness.