KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kaw Point Park in Kansas City, Kan., is usually a calm place. However, over the past few weeks, neighbors say it’s become anything but that.
Illegal sideshows with hundreds in attendance have been taking place, and residents and city officials are uneasy about the situation. According to the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, this issue may be growing.
A sideshow is a gathering where drivers perform stunts. Roaring engines, squealing tires and crowds of people fill vacant lots and public intersections for the event.
On Saturday, Sept. 12, an illegal sideshow was held on Southwest Boulevard and W. 26th Street. Video from the scene showed hundreds of bystanders and dozens of cars. The drivers performed stunts through the busy intersection, endangering hundreds.
Five days later they returned, part of the Mexican Independence Day celebration, but this time as they were in the middle of drifting someone opened fire, killing one woman and injuring another.
"I don’t like having to express condolences to people time and again when we have events where perhaps a better security presence could have helped us out some bit more," Mayor Quinton Lucas told FOX4 News in Kansas City.
He said laws need to be obeyed because they are created to protect the safety of others.
"Look, rules are here to make people safe," he said. "Rules are here so that, if a car spins out of control and hits a bunch of people in the crowd, there is some level of insurance to make sure the hospital bills are paid for. Rules exist so that we actually know that we can shut off streets to make sure that it is a safer environment."
Local resident Ken Brosam has seen what happens on Southwest Boulevard for decades. He said sideshows are not a new problem.
A second woman also hit by the gunfire on Sept. 17 suffered minor injures. KCPD said detectives are making good headway in identifying a person of interest in this case, but they still need the public’s help.
Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS. All tips are anonymous.