How a lethal mass shooting derailed a day of Super Bowl victory celebrations in Kansas City

One person was killed and multiple others were injured following a mass shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade on Valentine’s Day. Mike Bedigan and Katie Hawkinson look at everything we know so far about the unfolding situation

Thursday 22 February 2024 01:38 GMT
A day of celebration in Kansas City marred by tragedy
A day of celebration in Kansas City marred by tragedy (AFP via Getty)

A day of jubilant celebration was plunged into chaos on Wednesday 14 February after shots were fired at a victory parade for the Kansas City Chiefs in Missouri, following their Super Bowl victory.

Hundreds of police officers swarmed the scene at Union Station as panicked fans ran, with some later carried out on stretchers.

Police said one person is dead and 22 others suffered gunshot wounds, including 11 children.

Prosecutors with the Jackson County, Missouri Family Court Division have charged two juveniles in relation to the shooting, according to a Friday afternoon statement.

Here’s what we know so far about the incident.

Hundreds of police officers swarmed the scenes as panicked fans ran, with some later carried out on stretchers (USA Today via Reuters)

The shooting

Gunshots were reported at around 2pm on 14 February in Kansas City, as the rally to celebrate the Chiefs’ victory came to a close.

Footage shared online showed dozens of law enforcement officials running towards Union Station, with some drawing weapons. Officers with sniper rifles were also seen posted on the surrounding rooftops.

Around 100 police vehicles were reported to be in the area in the moments following the shooting, according to CBS.

Fans were urged to exit the area as quickly as possible and children were separated from their parents in the ensuing scramble. Reunification stations were later set up inside the station.

Pictures showed wounded fans being helped away from the scene, some being carried out on stretchers.

Lisa Money of Kansas City was trying to gather some confetti near the end of the parade when she heard somebody yell, “down, down, everybody down!” Ms Money thought somebody might be joking until she saw the SWAT team jumping over the fence.

The aftermath of the shooting (AFP via Getty Images)

“I can’t believe it really happened. Who in their right mind would do something like this?” she told The Associated Press. “This is supposed to be a day of celebration for everybody in the city and the surrounding area and then you’ve got some idiot that wants to come along and do something like this.”

Kevin Sanders, 53, of Lenexa, Kansas, said he heard what sounded like firecrackers and then people running, adding that 10 minutes later, ambulances had started showing up.

“It sucks that someone had to ruin the celebration, but we are in a big city,” Mr Sanders said.

White House says Super Bowl parade shooting 'cuts deep' into soul of America

The shooter

On 20 February, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office charged two adult men in connection with the shooting. Lyndell Mays and Dominic Miller face charges of second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action. They are both being held on $1m bond.

Mr Mays was the first one to draw his gun during a dispute with other people present at the parade, according to court documents. Meanwhile, Mr Miller may have fired the fatal shot that killed Lisa Lopez-Galvan, the only person who died on the scene, according to court documents and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker.

On 17 February, prosecutors with the Jackson County, Missouri Family Court Division also charged two juveniles in connection with the shooting. The identities of the minors have yet to be released.

“It is anticipated that additional charges are expected in the future as the investigation by the Kansas City Police Department continues,” the Division said in a statement.

These charges come after previous updates from police about potential suspects.

In an update just hours after the shooting, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said three people have been detained. Officials also recovered weapons, she said.

Two of those detained are minors, Ms Graves told reporters the morning after the shooting.

Shortly after, the third suspect was released. A statement from Kansas City Police, shared with The Independent, read: “There are two juvenile teens currently in custody for further investigation.

“A third person who was in custody was determined to not be involved.

“The two juveniles are currently being held in custody while we work with juvenile prosecutors to review investigative findings and determine applicable charges. The juvenile court system determines the custody status of all juvenile arrests.

“To clarify, we never indicated the third person was an adult. They are also a juvenile.”

Chief Graves also clarified that the attack stemmed from a dispute between people in the crowd.

“I want to stress that preliminary investigative findings have shown there was no nexus to terrorism or homegrown violent extremism,” she said. “This appeared to be a dispute between several people that ended in gunfire.”

She added that officials “have all intentions of presenting charges.”

Elsewhere, footage emerged online that appeared to show one of the shooters being tackled by fans outside the station.

Ms Graves told a press conference that she had also heard rumours of the alleged tackling, but could not confirm them.

“We are working to determine if one of the three are the one that was in that video, where fans assisted police,” she said.

The victims

Ms Graves said the updated victim total is now 23 people, including one fatality: 43-year-old Ms Lopez-Galvan, a mother of two and a local radio DJ.

Ten-year-old Samuel Arellano is another one of the gunshot victims. He attended the parade with his grandfather, aunt and uncle. A bullet struck him just under the arm.

“When I heard the gunshots, I hid,” Samuel told The Independent. “I fell to the ground and then hid behind a trashcan.”

But because the gunshot wound didn’t bleed, Samuel and his family didn’t discover the wound until they arrived home. After Samuel was taken to the hospital, doctors “took some parts of the bullet out” and told Samuel’s family the injury had been within centimetres of his pulmonary artery.

Another survivor, Jacob Gooch, told CBS Mornings about the moments leading up to the shooting. Mr Gooch, his wife and his son were all shot.

“I personally did not see the shooter,” Mr Gooch said. “I heard the altercation of a girl or some girls like, ‘don’t do it, not here, this is stupid’ or something like that. And then the gunshots, which at the time I thought were fireworks.”

Kansas City Fire Chief Ross Grundyson provided updates on the severity of all the injuries the morning after the shootings.

“We had one fatality that was on scene,” he said. “Eight critical, seven serious, and six patients with minor injuries. All the critical patients were transported off the scene within 10 minutes of our point of contact with them.”

Half of the victims injured by gunfire were under 16, according to Ms Graves. The youngest gunshot wound victim is just eight years old, while the oldest is 47, she told reporters.

Children’s Mercy Kansas City Hospital treated 11 children on the night of the shootings, Senior vice-president and chief nursing officer Stephanie Meyer said. Nine of those children suffered gunshot wounds.

All of the children who suffered gunshot wounds have since been discharged from the hospital, the Kansas City Star reported 17 February.

All of the victims were spread out amongst local hospitals to ensure no one ER is overwhelmed, Jill Jensen Chadwick, news director for University of Kansas Health System, told the Associated Press.

Five gunshot victims have been discharged from the University Health hospital, a spokesperson told NBC News. The hospital received eight gunshot victims in total – two of them are in critical condition and one is stable as of Thursday morning, according to NBC News.

Response by authorities

Over 800 law enforcement officers were present for the event. “I’m angry at what happened today,” Chief Graves told reporters.

“People who came to this celebration should expect a safe environment. We had over 800 law enforcement officers from Kansas City and other agencies at the location to keep everyone safe because of bad actors, which were very few.

Law enforcement officers following the shooting at the Chiefs victory parade (AP)

“This tragedy occurred even in the presence of uniformed law enforcement officers who again ran towards them and took them into custody.

“To the people who were injured in this tragedy. Our hearts go out to you and your families.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said that the White House had also offered federal assistance with the ongoing investigation. At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Lucas also thanked law enforcement.

“This is absolutely a tragedy the likes of which we would have never expected in Kansas City and the likes of which we will remember for some time,” he said.

“However, I want to say thank you to those who are making sure that we are safe today.

“Those who are investigating this incident and those who will continue to make sure that those who committed these acts today are brought to justice.”

The celebration

The day of celebration for Kansas City Chiefs fans descended into chaos (AP)

Downtown Kansas City had been a sea of red on Wednesday – Valentine’s Day – as Chiefs fans celebrated their third Super Bowl title in five seasons with the parade. On Sunday the team came from behind to win 25-22 in overtime against the San Francisco 49ers.

The players – including stars Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce – were all standing on top of double-decker buses as confetti cannons exploded in the streets.

Taylor Swift was not pictured at the parade. Instead, her boyfriend, Kelce, was joined by his mother, Donna Kelce.

Mayor Lucas said that in the aftermath of the shooting that he had spoken to the players, who “made clear that their prayers are with everyone who was at the parade today, everyone in Kansas City and everyone who was touched by this incident.”

Chiefs quarterback Mahomes posted on X following the shooting, writing: “Praying for Kansas City…”

A statement put out by the team read: “We are truly saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred outside of Union Station at the conclusion of today's parade and rally.

“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all of Kansas City.

“We are in close communication with the Mayor's office as well as the Kansas City Police Department. At this time, we have confirmed that all of our players, coaches, staff and their families are safe and accounted for. We thank the local law enforcement officers and first responders who were on-scene to assist.”

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