KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Police swarmed a Kansas City high school after gun fire outside and found a teenage girl shot and killed.
It all happened while a basketball game was being played inside Central Academy of Excellence. Police say a fight broke out during the game between An'Janique Wright and a suspect.
And because of that, the suspect was escorted outside to the parking lot by security. It was just a few minutes later when Wright exited the school, and that’s when the 15-year-old was shot.
The school is on the city’s east side at 33rd Street and Indiana Avenue. The shooting happened about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday.
"The game was still going on, so it wasn’t like everyone was leaving at the same time ... the disturbance occurred during the game. So, they were escorted out before it was over," Kansas City Police Department spokesman Officer Darin Snapp said.
No one could leave until the game was over.
Police say everything was caught on surveillance video.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said that two people of interest were taken into custody regarding the deadly shooting at the Central Academy of Excellence. Officers said their names will be released after charges are filed.
Authorities say the suspect fled the scene in a grey or light blue minivan.
KCTV5 News spoke to a woman who said she is An'Janique's mother Tuesday night. She said she hadn’t seen her daughter in three weeks.
"Somebody called and told me she was shot, and I went to the hospital, and when we got there, they said they tried everything they could, but they couldn’t save her," the woman said.
An'Janique's family said she went to school at the Alternative Resource Center in Kansas City and she was especially close to her brother and twin sister who were at the school with her Tuesday night at the basketball game.
“She was just here to see the game and show some support, just like all the other kids there,"Angelique Wright, who is An'Janique's sister said. "She's not in the wrong for giving her support. You can't just blame her death on her, okay?”
Police said an incident happened between the suspect and An'Janique about a week ago, and Tuesday night was the first time they had seen each other since then.
Leaders with Kansas City Public Schools are calling for a community-wide effort to cure the social-emotional wounds caused by gun violence.
During a news conference Wednesday morning at the KCPS Board of Education, Superintendent Mark Bedell talked about how ongoing gun violence is impacting both the school system and the entire community in Kansas City.
“Gun violence is not a KCPS problem,” Bedell said. “Gun violence is a community illness that is impacting the ability of our public schools to improve and thrive.”
Bedell emphasized that the safety and security of students, staff and visitors are always the top priorities of KCPS.
“We have made significant investments in time, talent and money in order to make our schools safe and secure havens for our students, and to address the social and emotional challenges that make it more difficult for our students to learn,” Bedell said.
Bedell emphasized that KCPS stands in solidarity with others in the community who are working to end gun violence and other criminal violence in Kansas City.
“KCPS cannot by itself cure the illness of gun violence,” Bedell said. “We can only try to lessen the bleeding. The cure will have to be developed by the entire community working together.”
KCPS has already taken a number of important steps to address the issue. This includes an extensive mentorship program for students, plus valuable partnerships with the Kansas City Police Department, churches, faith-based organizations, and other organizations that help teach young people how to deal with conflict without resorting to violence.
Mayor Sly James posted on Facebook Wednesday evening:
In response to the shooting outside the Central Academy of Excellence:
Last night, our community lost another young person to gun violence, again at the hands of a young person who had no trouble acquiring a firearm. I’ve spoken with Dr. Bedell and Chief Smith, and both of them have my unequivocal support. But the reality is exactly what Dr. Bedell said today: We need help, and we cannot solve this problem alone. Until we elect leaders who have the political will to pass common sense laws that allow us to do what needs to be done to gets guns off the streets and keep them out of the hands of those who would do harm, nothing will change.
Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.