Independence police search for suspects after 2 teens are shot on Memorial Day

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 6:15 PM CDT
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (KCTV) - Independence police are searching for suspects who stole a car at gunpoint in Raytown to use during a drive-by shooting in Independence, which injured two teenagers.

Neighbors say bullets flew as kids played nearby at the Hawthorne Place Apartments and Townhomes just after 8:15 p.m. on Memorial Day.

Tim Vogel is thankful his daughter was not hurt when suspects sped in front of her car near 63rd and Sterling in Raytown.

“They blocked the road and several of them got out with guns and approached her and told her to get out and she listened to them,” Vogel said. “I’m very grateful.”

Independence police believe the suspects then drove the stolen car to Hawthorne Place. There, two teenagers were shot. The teens’ injuries are described as non-life-threatening.

Many neighbors heard the loud gunshots and took cover. Some rushed to protect kids that were playing outside or inside their apartments.

“That’s the worst feeling, to be a mom and you have four children and you got to tell your kids to get down when there’s a shootout or anything going on,” Preshae Burke said. “Because bullets don’t have eyes; it can just immediately hit you.”

Last year, police responded to 1,707 calls for service at Hawthorne Place. That includes five shootings, 26 assaults and 12 sex offenses.

So far this year, officers have responded to 711 calls for service at Hawthorne Place. That includes two shootings, 18 assaults and eight sex offenses.

The police said that, in response to issues, the apartment complex began hiring off-duty police officers to increase security.

“The Independence Police Department has two officers that work out there full time,” IPD Public Information Officer Jack Taylor said.

The large apartment complex has 745 units and is home to more than 1,700 residents.

While investigators continue crime reduction efforts, police are searching for the suspects who shot the two teens.

“They crashed into a tree in the area near Dover and Peck,” Taylor said. “It’s about a block down the street from where the shooting happened. Once the vehicle crashed, they jumped out of the vehicle and ran on foot.”

Police are asking anyone with any information about the shooting to call 816-474-TIPS. Anyone with information can remain anonymous.