Thursday, September 6, 2018

August homicides, case progress and improved community cooperation

August was a difficult month for Kansas City, Mo., in terms of violent crime. There were 20 homicides. Each one of those victims is someone’s loved one. Someone’s friend. We are working hard to hold the people who commit these heinous acts accountable. Despite the influx of murders, our detectives have done an admirable job of investigating and solving these crimes. They have literally worked around the clock.

We have four homicide squads, and they rotate being on call. On several occasions this month, the Homicide Unit commander had to put more than one squad on call. At one point during the weekend of Aug. 4 and 5, every single homicide squad and detective was either on call, on standby or actively working, just to handle the workload. That caused many of them to break or change their weekend plans to handle active cases.  I want to publicly commend them for their hard work, which I think you’ll better understand when you read the below.

While all these new homicides were taking place, our detectives also managed to solve three prior cases this August, including a triple murder. We’ve outlined those below, too.  Year to date, we now have the highest homicide clearance rate we’ve experienced in the last six years. As of Aug. 31, we were at 74 percent. (That’s according to FBI’s Unified Crime Reporting definition of clearance, which credits the clearance to the year the clearance occurred, not the year the homicide was committed. So past years’ homicides solved this year figure into the 2018 clearance rate.) Consider these homicide clearance rates from where we have been as of Aug. 29 in previous years (also according to the UCR clearance definition):

08-29-18               74%
08-29-17               45%
08-29-16               63%
08-29-15               53%
08-29-14               65%
08-29-13               62%

Even in the cases that aren’t cleared, you’ll see there are few cases in which detectives have no idea what happened. I’ve seen a lot of homicide cases over the years in which detectives know exactly who the suspect is but need witnesses' help to get the evidence needed to arrest and prosecute a person. And several of those happened in August. Because no matter how good they are, our detectives cannot solve these cases without your help. We must work together to bring justice for grieving families and to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place. Fortunately, the improving clearance rates are evidence that this is happening more and more.

I wanted to start by sharing the non-August 2018 cases our homicide detectives got to prosecution last month:

October 2, 2017, at 7601 Monroe, Victim Marco Green.
Suspect: William Johnson.
Johnson shot Green while he sat in the back of a car. Johnson has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

October 10, 2017, at 4900 E. 17th St., Victims:  Jennifer and Victor Portillo, Yessenia Ahumana.
Suspect: Deaundre Brown.
Brown was present when the three victims were shot – one of whom was his ex-girlfriend – in a reported drug deal gone bad. He was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of armed criminal action.

July 28, 2018, at 8503 East 92nd St., Victim Deandrea Vine.
Suspect Xzavier McDowell
McDowell stabbed the victim, his girlfriend, to death in an apparent domestic violence incident. He has been charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence.

Now, here are the August 2018 homicide cases and the progress detectives have made on them. On most of the cases that haven’t already been charged, we know who did it. On several of them, we just need the right witnesses to come forward or the right forensic evidence processed in order to prosecute. I’d like to remind everyone of the $10,000 award available for information leading to charges in these cases by contacting the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477). You will remain anonymous:

Aug. 1 -  5018 Chestnut,  Victim:  BERNICE BROWN,  black female, age 43
Officers responded to a large outside disturbance that was updated to a shooting. They found the victim in the street suffering from a gunshot wound.  Suspect Tyjuan Caldwell was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. 

Aug. 1 -  3604 Bridge Manor Dr.,  Victim:  Hao Xingdong, Asian male, age 38
Officers responded to a shooting and located the victim on the side of the road suffering from a gunshot to the back of the head.  It was reported the suspect was running down the road shooting at a vehicle with a shotgun.  Two other victims received non-life threatening injuries.  Suspect Curtrail J. Hudson was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Aug. 2 – 22nd and Walrond,  Victim:  Tyrone Standifer, black male, age 54
Officers were dispatched to the area of 18th and Prospect on a reported shooting and located two victims inside a vehicle.  Both had been shot, and Standifer was deceased from a gunshot wound.  Police believe the shooting occurred in the area of 22nd and Walrond. Detectives have some forensic leads but still need tips.    

Aug. 5 -  1300 E. 89th St.,  Victim:  Shanterria Edwards, black female, age 26
Officers heard the souths of gunshots in the area and responded to investigate.  They found the deceased victim inside a vehicle suffering from gunshot wounds.  There is no suspect information at this time. 

Aug. 5 -  107th and Greenwood,  Victim: Cyrenaica Lang, black female, age 55
Officers were dispatched on a medical nature unknown.  When they got to the scene, they found the victim in the street, unresponsive. EMS responded and declared her deceased. It appears the victim had been shot. We have a subject of interest in this case and are working with the Crime Lab on further evidence.

Aug. 7 – 4909 East 39th Place, Victim:  Leo Woodruff, black male, age 17
Three days earlier, at 11:38 p.m. Aug. 4, officers responded to a shots fired call. Upon arrival, they found the victim lying in the street suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Woodruff died at a hospital on Aug. 7 at 5 p.m. We have good leads and continue to identify and interview people connected with the case.

Aug. 7 – 17th and White, Victim:  Justin P. Graham, white male, age 26
A resident contacted officers to tell them there was a body in the woods. They went to the wooded area the resident had indicated and discovered a decomposed body, which was later ruled a homicide. Detectives have good leads, and the investigation continues. 

Aug. 7 – 9th and Harrison, Victim: Terriante McClinton, black male, age 27
Officers were dispatched at 11:30 p.m. on a reported sound of shots. They found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. One survived, and the other succumbed to his injuries. An argument between several people preceded the shooting.  It appears the shooting occurred at or near the park in the southwest corner of 9th and Harrison. Detectives have identified a subject of interest and are looking for him.

Aug. 8 – 6801 St. John, Victim: Brittanie K. Broyles, white female, age 28
A truck driver coming to pick up supplies near 6801 St. John reported a dead body among several telephone poles on the ground outside. The driver called police at about 9:14 a.m. Police saw that the woman was dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Detectives have identified a subject of interest and are working with other department elements on the investigation.

Aug. 11 – 6112 Tracy, Victim:  Dajuan G. Alvarez, black male, age 30
At about 11:26 p.m., subjects dropped the victim off at a hospital emergency room and left. Doctors initially thought the victim had been stabbed. He died at the hospital. The people who dropped him off eventually came back to the hospital, and police questioned them. They told police the victim had been in a fight and had gotten shot, which an autopsy later confirmed. Police have gotten several tips and have a possible subject of interest. They continue to work on getting witnesses to come forward.

Aug. 12 – 3543 Prospect, Victim:  Jerel A. Price, black male, age 27
The gunshot detection system Shotspotter alerted police to a sound of shots about 11:53 p.m. at 3543 Prospect Ave. They found the victim with gunshot wounds in the northbound lanes of traffic. Nearby security video shows the victim had an altercation with two black males, one of whom pulled out a gun and shot the victim. Detectives are trying to identify those two men.

Aug. 15 – 12550 Raytown Road, Victims: Keith Wasmer, age 25, and Michael R. Brewer, age 29, both white males
At about 12:50 p.m. KCPD officers were dispatched to the area of 12550 Raytown Road on a reported dead body call. Upon arrival, officers were directed to a remote location approximately 3/4 of a mile west of the dispatched location. This area is heavily wooded and near a trail. They located the two victims’ bodies. Despite their state of decomposition, the Jackson County Medical Examiner determined they have suffered apparent trauma and has ruled the victims’ deaths as homicides. We have identified at least one person involved.

Aug. 16 – 470 and View High Drive, Victim:  Tasheika S. Baker, black female, age 41
Officers were dispatched about 10:29 p.m. to a shooting at I-470 and Raytown Road. They looked all over the area and eventually found the victim at I-470 and View High. Lee's Summit Fire/EMS were first at the scene and transported the victim to the hospital, where she was declared deceased. Detectives are working with federal partners on a possible lead but otherwise have little to go on.

Aug. 17 – 3339 Wabash, Victim:  Morris “Mack” Clay, black male, age 66
Officers were dispatched to 3339 Wabash at 4:41 p.m. They found the victim with an apparent gunshot wound on the front porch of a house. They attempted CPR while tactical officers cleared the house because witnesses said the suspect may be inside.  The victim died. The suspect was not inside, but he had driven away just after the shooting. Officers located him, and now Marshall Celestine has been charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon. He is being held on a $100k cash-only bond. 

Aug. 19 – 435 and Eastwood, Victim:  Gabriel J. Edgar, black male, age 36
Officers were initially dispatched at 3:41 a.m. on a vehicle crash at 435 and Eastwood. When they got there, they found the victim shot to death in the northbound lanes of 435 at Eastwood Trafficway. A tow truck driver first discovered the victim. Detectives have identified a person of interest and are working with the Crime Lab on analysis to move the case forward.
Aug. 19 – 10th and Harrison, Victim:  Dante L. Wachteler, white male, age 25
Officers were dispatched at 4:41 a.m. on a sound of shots and found the victim in the street suffering from a gunshot wound. There were no witnesses at the scene, and police have few leads.  

Aug. 19 – 14th and White, Victim:  Curtis A. Presley, black male, age 21
The victim was with a man who was giving a ride to two other male suspects – a juvenile and an adult –to buy marijuana. The suspects asked the victims to pull over at 14th and White, and when they did, the suspects attempted to rob the victims of their car, money and cell phone. The deceased victim refused to turn over his phone and was subsequently shot by the juvenile suspect. The juvenile has been charged in Family Court. Police have identified the adult suspect and are looking for him. 

Aug. 25 – 6816 Cleveland, Victim:  Raphael M. Butler-Grimmet, black male, age 17
An officer in the area heard shots at about 5:09 a.m. and saw a car fleeing the scene. Police pursued that vehicle to 7th and Rainbow in Kansas City, Kan. Other officers went to 68th and Cleveland, where they found the victim dead from apparent gunshot wounds. There were several witnesses at the scene. Police learned the shooting stemmed from an argument among people who knew each other. The driver of the vehicle that left the scene has been charged with felony eluding.  The shooter has been identified and remains at large. Officers are actively searching for the suspect

Aug. 29 – 7041 Askew, Victim: Christopher M. Cropp, white male, age 36
Officers responding on a reported shooting at 12:59 p.m. found the victim in the front yard of the house with a gunshot wound. Investigation revealed that someone known to the suspect came to retrieve property and brought the suspect with them. The unarmed victim was standing outside the suspect’s vehicle when they got into an altercation, and the suspect shot him from inside the vehicle. The suspect, David W. Worlledge, has been charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Aug. 30 – 4029 Park, Victim: Joseph H. Honea, white male, age 43
The Shotspotter gunshot detection system alerted officers to shots fired in the vacant lot at 4029 Park at 4:29 a.m. They found the victim deceased from multiple gunshot wounds. Detectives have some information about the victim’s activities prior to his death, but they need more leads.

Again, you can come forward with information while remaining anonymous and earning a $10,000 reward by calling TIPS. More and more people are doing so. Because the good news is that overall violent crime – including homicides – is down year-to-date. You can see the homicide numbers updated daily on our web site. And so far, non-deadly shootings through Sept. 2 are down nearly 13 percent compared to the same time last year. This shows that our community is standing up and opposing the culture of violence in Kansas City.   

Coming up on October 6, each of our six patrol divisions will host a Citizens United Against Crime event (see the flier below) at various locations throughout the city. We hope this fun event will continue to enhance our collaboration with residents by building relationships and providing education in crime prevention.

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