CLAY COUNTY, Mo.A triple homicide at this Red Roof Inn in Kansas City's Northland was an exclamation point to a new influx of gang activity that started popping up on Clay County law enforcement's radar six months ago.
The Clay County Sheriff fears it's what the county doesn't have that's drawing the unwanted activity.
"So far, we think of lot of them live elsewhere," Clay County Sheriff Bob Boydston said.
That was the case for 18-year-old Isaac Perdomo-Paz, charged Wednesday in last month's triple homicide.
Boydston said Perdomo-Paz is also a member of the East Side Locos gang, whose members live in Independence and East Kansas City, according to area law enforcement.
"Kansas City and Independence have done such a good job in addressing gangs and gang activity through specialized techniques," Boydston said.
Boydston speculates the crackdown on gangs in Independence and Kansas City, Mo., is the reason why gang members are moving north, because they feel less watched.
Boydston said the problems have been primarily in the south half of the county, late at night and at recreational areas and convenience stores, some of which have hired off-duty police officers to combat the problem.
The problems before the triple homicide had been things like fights, drug use and underage drinking. Boydston said the county-wide drug squad has not seen an associated increase in drug purchases or sales.
Even without the hard-core gang element, Boydston said gang activity can affect property values and education, turning schools into recruiting grounds.
"We don't have that kind of an apparatus and those kinds of specialized officers in any of our departments, and that's something we are probably going to have to consider," Boydston said.
Although Boydston said the triple homicide involved at least one and possibly more gang members, there's no indication gang affiliation had anything to do with the motive.
Boydston said he's planning a meeting with all the city chiefs in the county to look at ways to combine resources to address the issue.