Kansas City mall mayhem prompts call for change

Kansas City StarAugust 15, 2011 

Kansas City Mayor Sly James vowed Sunday that he’d take steps to end large, nighttime gatherings of unsupervised teenagers and preteens on the Country Club Plaza by holding parents to account.

How, he didn’t know.

But whatever plan is developed, it will be a joint effort of the mayor and the City Council, James said after consultation with school officials, police and the juvenile court, among others. And James promised that the plan will be in place before next weekend.

It may or may not include an early curfew, as some are calling for.

“We can’t expect that imposing a curfew is going to stop some 15-, 16-, 17-year-old from bringing a gun to anywhere,” he said at an afternoon City Hall news conference. “On the other hand, we should be able to expect parents not to have their 13-year-old children on the Plaza getting shot.”

His announcement came a day after the Saturday night shooting that saw three youths wounded and the mayor forced to the ground by his security team. James, along with former Councilman Alvin Brooks and a group of ministers, was at the Plaza talking with kids and assessing the crowd problem in response to calls from Plaza owner Highwoods Properties and others to roll back the current midnight curfew on weekends to 9 p.m.

“A curfew would have merit in our view, but that is a decision our capable mayor and his team of municipal experts need to weigh,” Highwoods said in a statement issued Sunday.

The shootings occurred shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday near 47th and Wyandotte streets. When shots rang out — witnesses reported hearing five or six — James was about 50 yards away. His two bodyguards pushed him to the ground and drew their guns.

“They basically forced me into the flowerbeds by the Cheesecake Factory,” James said.

Read the complete story at kansascity.com

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