An Independence man faces a misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence after allegedly taking marijuana out of the hand of a victim at a the scene of a Kansas City double-homicide earlier this week.
According to court documents, Brandon Kumm, 21, was seen on video surveillance cameras taking a bag of what appeared to be marijuana from one of the victims before police arrived to the scene of a Tuesday afternoon shooting at the BP gas station near 30th Street and Van Brunt Boulevard. Police determined the two victims had shot each other.
After seeing the video, officers arrested Kumm, who had given one of the victims a ride to the area. He initially said he hadn't taken anything from a victim, then admitted to taking the baggie of marijuana but said he had given it to an officer at the scene. However, video footage showed Kumm had put the baggie in a shorts pocket and then thrown it into his Chevrolet Blazer. Police later found the drugs.
In a release that announcing the charge, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the job of managing a crime scene requires citizens to “show compassion for victims and to help police do their job of managing a scene.”
“I was angered to see community members failing to uphold these important duties,” Peters Baker said.
Also, the prosecutor was furious that photos of the scene had been posted on social media before police arrived, leading to one of the victim's family learning of his murder by seeing a picture of the body lying in the gas station parking lot.
“The police had not time to notify the family, innocent of any offense, of this trauma,” the prosecutor said. “A victim's advocate was not afforded the time to help this family. Our community showed no compassion for this family. We expect better of our community.”
Peters Baker also reminded citizens that photos and videos taken at a crime scene should be considered evidence that law enforcement will want to see, and should thus be turned over to officers.