Two people died after shots were allegedly fired Friday between a police officer and the occupants of a van stopped near a Kansas City intersection, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The agency is investigating the shooting, which involved a Kansas City police officer, as part of an agreement with the department regarding lethal force reviews.
At around 9 p.m. Friday, the officer was waiting in traffic at an intersection near 31st Street and Van Brunt Boulevard on the east side. He noticed a van had stopped in an area of the intersection where it was “a little suspicious” of cars stopping, said Sgt. Andrew Bell, spokesman for the highway patrol agency.
Dashcam footage on the officer’s car showed a person leaning out of the driver’s side window of the truck and pointing a gun at a nearby Volvo or van, Bell said.
“It was very aggressive. It looked like he was getting ready to shoot these people,” Bell said.
Then a passenger in the van got out of the vehicle and started walking with a gun in his hand. They got back in the truck with their gun and fled shortly after, Bell said.
The officer’s car pulled up alongside the van, which Bell says prevented the dash cam from capturing the interaction between the people in the van and the officer.
Shots were fired by the officer through the driver’s side window and into the van. Casings recovered from the scene showed the occupants of the van also fired a weapon, Bell said.
After the gunshots, the van slowly rolled forward, hitting the curb.
The officer ordered the occupants of the van to exit the vehicle. Three people got out, while two people, a driver and a passenger, were too injured to move.
Marcell Nelson, 42, and Kristen Fairchild, 42, who police say were driving, died of their injuries sometime after the shooting, Bell said.
A third person suffered injuries classified as minor. No officers were injured.
Two people were arrested by investigators for questioning.
Police recovered four firearms from the van, Bell said.
Autopsies are underway on Nelson and Fairchild and investigators are reviewing all surveillance footage from the shooting.
The fatal shooting marked the 83rd and 84th homicides in Kansas City so far this year, according to data maintained by The Star, which includes police shootings in its annual tally. Last year, the city recorded 172 homicides, the second highest number on record.
Once the investigation is complete, the agency will report its findings to the Jackson County District Attorney’s office to determine if the shooting was legal.