Marijuana sale led to homicide, Blue Springs police say

By The Examiner staff

A marijuana sale that turned into a fatal shooting behind a strip mall in Blue Springs has led to charges against two Kansas City men.

The shooting happened at mid-afternoon Friday behind the Rent-A-Center at 710 N.W. Missouri 7. Kansas City police later caught the two men after a high-speed chase in south Kansas City in which the driver of the fleeing vehicle was passing cars on the wrong side.

Zaylen Z. Smith, 21, faces charges of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. Prosecutors asked that he be held on bond of $250,000.

Donavan M. Jordan, 21, faces charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and resisting a lawful stop, both felonies. Prosecutors asked for a bond of $50,000.

According to Blue Springs police, Jordan said he and shooting victim, Gregory Marchand, agreed to meet at Jimmy John’s in the strip center next to the Rent-A-Center so Jordan could buy marijuana. 

Jordan, Smith and a third person drove to the strip center in a blue Avenger. Jordan and Smith went into the Jimmy John’s. The driver of the Avenger stayed in the vehicle behind a nearby barber shop. Jordan went out the back door of the Jimmy John’s, met Marchand at Marchand’s SUV and paid him $150 for marijuana. 

According to Jordan, Smith went to the Avenger and got a Glock. He walked up Marchand’s SUV, asked to buy $40 worth of marijuana, opened the driver's door and shot Marchand once in the chest. Jordan said Smith grabbed money from Marchand’s hands.

Police arrived at 2:53 p.m., and paramedics shortly after. Marchard was slumped in his seat, unresponsive. He died at a hospital.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., Kansas City police at Jordan’s apartment saw his car, which sped away. Jordan later told Blue Springs police he thought the Kansas City police were there to arrest him on domestic violence warrants, so he fled. 

That high-speed chase went several blocks north on Blue Ridge Boulevard, roughly in the area of Ruskin and Hickman Mills high schools. Jordan was driving, and Smith at one point asked to get out so that, he said, he wouldn’t be shot. Police picked him up. Jordan kept going, crashed, then ran, then was caught by police.

Jordan told police he didn’t intend for a shooting to happen and would not have brought the other two people to the Jimmy John’s had he known it would. He said he and Smith had only met a day before.

Smith gave police conflicting accounts – at first denying being in Blue Springs at all on Friday. Police found the clothing he is seen wearing in video surveillance, and when confronted with that said he had been in the area of the Jimmy John’s. Smith told police it was Jordan who shot Marchard and took his money.

Blue Springs police said Sunday they are still looking for a third person of interest in the case.