Kansas City leaders are looking at changes to the zoo’s free admission days for residents of Jackson and Clay counties after large fights broke out and shots were fired at the Kansas City Zoo:
Mayor Sly James emphatically said Wednesday that “we had young people who were misbehaving badly.” However, he does not believe violence at the Country Club Plaza involving large groups of youth and Tuesday’s violence at the Kansas City Zoo are connected, saying they are isolated incidents.
“It’s not my job to take separate incidents that happened in one part of town and one that happened in another part of town for purposes of trying to create something else.Those are separate incidents. They weren’t the same people involved. It wasn’t the same place or the same time or circumstances,” he said.
However, some of innocent patrons caught up in the violence say they believe the Plaza violence and Tuesday’s violence at the zoo are connected and the city must do more to ensure families can be safe when going to Kansas City’s top attractions.
Residents of Jackson and Clay counties could get into free to the zoo on Tuesday because of voter support for a zoo tax. The day coincided with mild weather and spring break for many area districts.
Marc Hoefer was at the zoo with his wife, and 11 and 8-year-old children. An 11-year-old friend joined them.
“It was crowded. It was a different crowd. There was not a lot of courtesy. It was very packed and very tense,” he said. “There was a strong police presence. There were a lot of pockets of youth. You could see there was a lot of tension. I didn’t expect to walk about and see what I saw, but I wasn’t surprised.”
Nothing to see here. Move along. These were two totally different sets of youths misbehaving at different locations.