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NKC School District superintendent on Saturday night shootings: 'This incident weighs heavy on my heart'

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Posted at 9:10 PM, Mar 03, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A message Sunday night from North Kansas City School District superintendent Dr. Rochel Daniels stated, "No one, especially no child, should ever have to experience what some did yesterday – running from gunfire."

The gunfire wounded two people, including a North Kansas City High School student, Saturday night after a state basketball tournament game ended between Staley High School and North Kansas City High School.

The second victim, an adult, is not affiliated with the district. Both victims were in stable condition Sunday night.

The shooting occurred outside North Kansas City High School where the basketball game was played.

"This incident weighs heavy on my heart," Daniels said in her message sent to district patrons. "In one moment, I was enjoying amazing competition between our incredible teams; then in the next, watching students and families scatter as gunfire rang out. Amid the initial chaos, our staff, community members, emergency personnel and law enforcement responded immediately, providing tremendous leadership and care."

A crime scene was found near the football field entrance. No arrests have been made.

LINK | 'I saw the looks on their faces': Witnesses describe chaotic aftermath of shooting outside NKC High school

"NKCPD announced this was an isolated event and there is no threat to the public," Daniels said in her message. "We are working with our law enforcement partners to hold those responsible accountable. During the ongoing investigation, NKCPD will provide continued updates. They ask that anyone with information, photos, or video contact the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477."

Daniels said additional security will in place while the investigation continues.

"NKC Schools made significant investments in this area in recent years, and we will continue to expand on those efforts," she said in her message. "I saw many of the tools and resources at our disposal in action last night. We must remain on the leading edge of measures that ensure school safety and security."

Daniels stressed the importance of recognizing school district employees and others who acted quickly to get the basketball crowd and those attending a debate tournament to safety.

"In challenging times like this, it’s easy to fixate only on those who had no respect for the lives of others nor their own," Daniels stated. "In contrast, the number of good people putting others before themselves, far outweighed the few who came from outside our community with ill intent.

She praised district athletic directors who were in gym, David Garrison and Chad Valadez, as the first to shout, “Active Shooter”, to alert and evacuate people.

She also recognized a host of school district administrators, including Larry Smith, Kevin Kooi, Hawar Khalandi, Theo Fundermann, Kara King, Tammie May and Casey Vokolek.

In addition, she praised the efforts of the basketball and debate coaches, "who protected their students, providing reassurance and support during a time of uncertainty."

Daniel said she her staff watched hours of videos and revealed Clayton and Sherri Statler, of Staley, provided aid to the NKCHS student who had been shot, stabilizing him until paramedics arrived. Central Office personnel including Chad Evans, Eric Johnson, Enjoli Avila, Peyton Galloway and Susan Hiland immediately came on site to assist."

Counseling and other support will be available Monday and into the future to help

Daniels included groups and information for parents and others looking for information on how to help the children or school staff members.

"We are ready to welcome back and serve students tomorrow," Daniels said. "Thank you to all those in the community who have reached out with generous offers of support. I have been continually reminded of what partnership and caring spirit permeates the Northland. I pledge to provide information and updates as they become available. We are one North Kansas City Schools, and we will move forward together."