Kansas City police link Super Bowl rally shooting to dispute, not terror

Kansas City police chief Stacey Graves says three people have been taken into custody and firearms recovered

An altercation involving several people sparked the shooting spree in Kansas City that killed one person and wounded 22 after a celebration for the city’s Super Bowl-winning NFL team, authorities said on Thursday, adding they saw no link to extremism.

Two juveniles and an adult were being held as suspects, police chief Stacey Graves said at a press conference on Thursday, a day after the melee in the Missouri city. She said several firearms had been recovered.

Ms Graves said “a dispute between several people” was behind the shooting that turned a festive celebration of the Chiefs, who had defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, into a scene of bloodshed and panic.

Upward of a million fans had gathered for a parade and rally, and the sound of shots sent throngs of attendees scrambling for cover. Two fans who went to the rally ended up tackling and detaining one of the suspects taken into custody.


In Thursday’s briefing, police increased the number of gunshot victims to 23, and said their ages ranged from eight to 47. The death toll remained at one victim, identified as a popular local radio personality, Lisa Lopez-Galvan.

“We have all intentions of presenting charges,” Ms Graves said of the three suspects in custody. Their identities were not disclosed.

Police were still trying to determine if anybody else was involved in the shooting. The chief said she wanted everyone responsible “brought to justice”.

Children’s Mercy Hospital said it had treated the nine children who were shot. The hospital said in a statement that “all of the victims we saw are expected to recover”. The hospital also treated two other children injured but not shot at the rally, along with an adult.

The Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker, who will decide on filing criminal charges, wrote on social media on Thursday that “I will use every tool at my disposal under Missouri law that allows me to address this tragedy.”

The shooting marks the latest high-profile outburst of gun violence in the US, where such incidents have erupted with increasing frequency in schools, supermarkets, nightclubs and other public settings.

“This is an all-too-real American problem,” Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas said in an interview with KMBC TV. “But so long as we have fools who will commit these types of acts, as long as we have their access to firearms at this level of capacity... we may see incidents like this one.”

Kansas City has seen an increase in deadly violence in recent years. The city’s 182 murders in 2023 were an all-time record, surpassing the 176 recorded in 2020. More than one in 10 homicide victims in 2023 were under the age of 18, according to police statistics.

The barrage of gunshots happened near the city’s landmark Union Station, whose front entrance was the backdrop to the stage for the victory rally, according to police. Hundreds of law enforcement personnel were present.

The Super Bowl celebration featured Chiefs player Travis Kelce on stage with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and other team-mates, but Kelce’s pop superstar girlfriend, Taylor Swift, was back on tour in Australia.

“I am heartbroken over the tragedy that took place today,” Kelce posted on X late on Wednesday night. “My heart is with all who came out to celebrate with us and have been affected. KC, you mean the world to me.” – Reuters