KANSAS CITY

Police: Chinese missionary

fatally shot in Kansas City

A Christian missionary from China who was visiting Kansas City with his wife and four children was shot to death after he crossed paths with an 18-year-old who was shooting at people while high on drugs, police say.

The victim, Xindong Hao, had just arrived in the city on Monday to join fellow missionaries at the International House of Prayer, an evangelical group whose headquarters are near the scene of the shooting. Hao was walking Wednesday evening in a neighborhood in the area when he encountered Curtail Hudson, 18, who was randomly shooting at people in the area, according to court documents. Two other people were wounded before Hudson was arrested.

Hao's English might not have been strong enough to know why people were shouting at him while he was taking a walk, friend Tony Petrehn said.

As a Christian missionary in China, Hao sometimes worked secretly in a nation whose government discourages certain religions, Petrehn said. Friends said Hao had been to Kansas City before to meet with supporters and raise money for his programs.

During his most recent visit, Hao had enrolled all four of his children in a day camp at the International House of Prayer, said Lenny LaGuardia, vice president of ministries. Hao's children are aged 2, 4, 6 and 8. His wife, Laura Hao, is from North Carolina. The family lived together in China.

 

OVERLAND PARK

Officials: No incentive

for false seat belt tickets

Law enforcement officials in Kansas and Missouri have no reason to issue bogus traffic tickets for not wearing a seat belt instead of citing motorists for more serious traffic infractions, according to transportation officials in both states.

Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez Jr. said some officers overlooked traffic violations like speeding and instead cited motorists for not wearing seat belts when they'd actually been buckled up. Officers could have simply issued motorists warnings for the traffic violations instead of issuing false tickets for a lesser charge, he said.

"We're having a hard time wrapping our heads around it," Donchez said.

The issue emerged after three Overland Park police officers resigned last month following an internal investigation into false seat belt citations. More than 200 traffic tickets have since been dismissed and about $4,000 has been refunded to motorists.

Both states' transportation agencies give federal grant dollars that provide law enforcement agencies with more resources in order to increase the enforcement of seat belt laws. Those funds typically cover overtime payments.

The Kansas Transportation Department monitors activity reports and overtime records, but there's no quota for tickets that should be issued, said Chris Bortz, the traffic safety program manager at the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The Missouri Transportation Department also doesn't have an incentive for issuing more tickets, said Mike Stapp, the law enforcement grant coordinator for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

 

SPRINGFIELD

Missouri brewery removes

Hindu deity from beer artwork

A Missouri brewery has apologized and removed artwork depicting a Hindu deity from one of its beers.

Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, had objected when the Springfield Brewing Company introduced an IPA beer label showing Hindu deity Lord Genesha holding a drink.

In a statement released Friday, the brewery said it never intended to offend anyone and would remove the artwork from the Bombay Brown beer and its website.

Zed said using the deity's symbol to promote a commercial business or any other agenda was offensive and insensitive. He thanked the brewery's management on Friday for its response to his complaints.

Hindus worship Lord Ganesha as a god of wisdom and remover of obstacles. Ganesha is generally invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.

 

ST. LOUIS

Police arrest driver

Who abandoned 15

passengers after stop

Police have arrested a man a day after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop, leaving behind a van with 15 people inside.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the driver was arrested Friday as he walked along Highway 109 near Eureka.

Police conducting a traffic stop Thursday say the driver jumped out and ran away. Inside the van were 15 people who spoke no English and lacked identification.

Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Juston Wheetley says the driver and the people who were inside the van have been turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Eureka police say they plan to submit their report to prosecutors who will make a decision on whether any charges will be filed.

 

TUSCUMBIA

Death penalty sought beating

death at Missouri campground

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a man charged with a man's brutal killing at a southwest Missouri campground.

Miller County Prosecutor Ben Winfrey has filed a court notice of intent to seek the death penalty against 39-year-old John Joe Powell. He is accused of beating Mark Johnson of Colorado at the Iguana Campground in Miller County in September 2017.

The Lake Sun Leader reports that investigators believe Powell hit Johnson with a tire iron, stabbed him and dragged him behind a jeep.

Police found Johnson unconscious and tied to the rear of a Jeep. He died about a week after the confrontation.

According to the probable cause statement, Powell and Johnson originally argued over their military service. Powell also became angry after Johnson reportedly threatened his wife.

 

– Associated Press