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Video shows police resolve tense armed conflict in Westport

Westport Altercation.jpg
Posted at 5:41 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 20:07:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A video recording of a tense moment early Sunday morning in Westport shows an incident that could have ended much differently.

Around 3:15 a.m. Sunday, Devin Chapman thought to hit record on his phone.

Right in front of him, a young man involved in an altercation had pulled a gun from his waistband and held it at his side.

Nearby officers from the Kansas City, Missouri, quickly responded to the intersection of Mill Street and Westport Road.

He said the young man was surrounded by three other men who were trying to fight him.

"He kept trying to go back across the street. He walked past the police. I think it was a cry for help walking past the police, letting them hear what was going on, the conversation," Chapman said.

Chapman said this was going on for a few minutes before he started recording. He thought the young man pulled the gun to protect himself.

"Then he tried to walk across the street, they blocked him. He tried to go back, they blocked him. Tried to go this way, they blocked him. He had no choice to go ahead and get ready to defend himself, he's looking over at the cops," Chapman said.

The KCPD officers who had responded drew their guns, telling the man to put his down.

They quickly got the man to the ground and arrested him.

No one was hurt.

"I was really impressed that the officers relied on their training," KCPD Major Scott Simons said.

Simons, who oversees KCPD's Central Patrol, said these situations are hard to handle, especially with the large crowd that had gathered.

"The fact they were able to make verbal contact, they were trying to address the other individuals there as well, and that they remained in communication with the individual they were trying to address," Simons said.

Chapman said throughout all of this, the other three men were still trying to fight and thought they should have been removed from the situation immediately. They are seen in the video off to the side, yelling at the man with the gun, who at that point was standing in the light beam of the officers' flashlights.

"They could have really killed him, so I do commend police for that. To avoid the whole situation before a gun even got drawn, you got to look at what we could have did to avoid everything," Chapman said.

Many people are responding to Chapman's video, commenting that multiple people could have ended up dead that night.

"A change in his actions could have very immediately changed the officers response so that's one of those things that our training gives us, we rely on that to decide how we're going to respond," Simons said.

The 21-year-old man who drew his handgun was cited for brandishing a firearm. Another man in the altercation was cited for getting in the officers' way.