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Examiner
  • 3 dead and 1 critically injured in Pope Avenue shooting

  • Those killed were Maria Hernandez, 48, her son, Antonio Hernandez, 20, and Tomas Madrigal, whom police identified as Maria Hernandez’s boyfriend. The name of the fourth person, who was taken to an area hospital with critical injuries, was not released by the police.

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  • Independence police are seeking help in finding three suspects in a shooting early Friday morning that left three dead and one critically injured.
    Police were called to a home invasion in the 1500 block of Pope Avenue at approximately 4:30 a.m. Friday. When they arrived, Independence police spokesperson John Cato said they discovered three dead and one severely injured with gunshot wounds.
    Those killed were Maria Hernandez, 48, her son, Antonio Hernandez, 20, and Tomas Madrigal, whom police identified as Maria Hernandez’s boyfriend. The name of the fourth person, who was taken to an area hospital with critical injuries, was not released by the police.
    Cato said that from preliminary investigations it appeared the shootings were not random.
    “Our investigations so far indicate that the victims and the suspects knew each other,” Cato said. “The motives for the shooting are not known at this time, but it appears it wasn’t just a random band of gunmen.”
    Cato said the police are seeking three male suspects. Details about them are sketchy at this time: One is described as a light-skinned Hispanic with a stocky build who was wearing red pants and a red jacket. Another was of unknown race, taller and more slender, wearing all black with his face covered. A third, also of unknown race, wore a dark jacket and red pants.
    Police would like anyone with information on the case to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS or the Independence Police Department at 816-836-3600.
    “Anyone who knows the family or the motive, we encourage them to call us,” Cato said.
    Cato said that police had not been able to talk with the fourth victim yet because of that person’s injuries. He said a neighbor made the call to the police and that it did not come from the home of the victims.
    Neighbors said Hernandez and the other occupants had moved in this past year. The neighborhood is south of 23rd Street and east of Noland Road.
    Authorities weren’t certain Friday how many people lived in the house. Cato said the family may have included up to six children, but that some may be grown and living elsewhere.
    Claudette Henson, a neighbor, said she recently saw Maria Hernandez at a football game in which one of Hernandez’s younger sons was playing. Hernandez was wearing the boy’s jersey.
    “She seemed like a very sweet lady, just the way she was interacting with her kids and how she was there to support her little one at the game,” Henson said. “They were good kids, never caused any problems.”
    Henson’s husband, Darryl Henson, said the family’s children were often seen in the neighborhood and appeared well behaved.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I was very surprised when I heard,” he said.
    Kirsti Rubino, who lives in the house behind the crime scene, said she heard “banging” sounds around 4:30 a.m. Friday and went outside to see a half-dozen police officers looking around with flashlights.
    Rubino said she had met one of the residents, a girl she believed to be about 11 years old. That girl was friends with another neighbor, Rubino said, adding that she was not sure the occupants spoke English.
    “There were always cars back there,” Rubino said of the occupants. “They would come at night and leave at night but they never did anything that would warrant attention.’”
    A search of online court records in Jackson County, where Independence and Kansas City are located, did not yield any criminal records that appeared to match any of the three people killed.
    The Associated Press contributed to this article.
     

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