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One arrested in mall shooting in Independence

By The Examiner staff

Police arrested one person and were looking for others involved in a shooting that left a teenager seriously injured Thursday evening at Independence Center.

The victim, a 16-year-old boy, was shot in the leg. Off-duty police officers working security at the mall heard shots and found the victim. They applied a couple tourniquets before he was taken to the hospital.

The shooting happened at 5:13 p.m. inside the mall, Independence Police said, though they have not specified where. 

One person was detained at the scene, police said.

The mall, which had been scheduled to close at 6 p.m., closed after the shooting. It opened as scheduled at 10 a.m. Friday and was scheduled to close again at 6 p.m. 

Independence Police spokesperson John Syme said the shooting happened after an altercation between two groups of people.

"We are looking for others involved," he told reporters. "That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a suspect or victim. It just means that they are involved somehow in the incident. They may have seen something. They may have been directly a part of it, as well."

Police said they will check mall security footage.

This weekend is the first since the mall announced a new curfew: No unaccompanied juveniles age 17 and younger after 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

That decision came after disturbances and fights stemming from a late-afternoon crowd of an estimated 500 juveniles on Dec. 26. Police arrested six adults and four juveniles, several police departments were called to assist with dispersing the crowd, and the mall closed a half-hour early at 6:30 p.m. 

Four of the adults are parents or guardians of unaccompanied teens who were at the mall and were cited, police said, for endangering the welfare of a minor. Other citations were disorderly conduct, interfering with police, assault of a law enforcement officer and providing false information. Two young adults cited had been with a group of juveniles, police said.

Calls for police to disburse large crowds of unruly juveniles at the mall are not unusual, and such an incident in 2020 led the Independence City Council to alter the city curfew. With those changes, the age of minors under curfew guidelines went from 17 to 18, the Friday and Saturday youth curfew went from midnight to 11 p.m., and a new 9 p.m. curfew was applied to the so-called I70/M291 District, which includes the mall and the rest of the retail area along 39th Street, the Cable Dahmer Arena area along Valley View Parkway, and the area including Bass Pro Shops and Main Event entertainment center.

The curfew is for unaccompanied minors and doesn’t apply for those running an emergency errand for parents or guardians, those returning from work or those leaving a school, recreational or sporting event or ticketed concert.