Court papers detail deadly shootout at KC bar involving police where 1 killed, 5 injured

State detectives investigating the role of Kansas City police in a deadly shootout outside of a Westport bar earlier this week were gathering evidence from two vehicles seized in connection as they continued to work out precisely how six people were shot, including one fatally.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has spent the past few days piecing together the events after the shooting summoned a massive response from police and emergency services to the popular entertainment district on Sunday night. It unfolded around 11 p.m. at Westport Ale House, 4128 Broadway Blvd., following a physical fight inside the bar that spilled out into the street after off-duty police and private security officers intervened, authorities have said.

In a pair of search warrants unsealed Friday, a detective wrote that two of the men shot — including Cardell Crawford, 24, the man killed that night — were struck by bullets from “unknown source(s)” as they fired guns from beside a Chrysler rental van. The documents say at least three of those involved in the disturbance “retreated” to that van down the street from the bar.

“Gunfire subsequently erupted from the subjects at the Chrysler. It is currently undetermined who the gunfire was directed toward,” the patrol investigator wrote in an application for a warrant to search the van for evidence, which was granted Monday by a Jackson County judge. “A witness also indicated there was at least one other unidentified subject in the area, who was not associated with the subjects at the Chrysler, who was possibly firing a handgun.”

Among those interviewed by investigators was a 30-year-old man with access to the van who was shot and wounded during the encounter. He told investigators he and eight others had driven to the bar that night together.

During the interview, the man allegedly recalled opening the passenger door to retrieve a handgun from the glove box and then firing it. Court papers filed with the search warrant offered no other details of his account that evening.

Court papers say the van had been damaged by several bullets and its windows were broken. Blood was found in the van’s middle row on the driver’s side. Three handguns were in plain view inside.

A more detailed search conducted at the city tow lot found 12 bullets and bullet fragments in the van. Other items recorded on the property inventory list included a loaded handgun magazine, DNA swabs, fingerprint cards and rental paperwork.

In addition to the van, investigators searched a second vehicle that was believed to possibly be connected with the shooting. It was found blocking traffic on Broadway Boulevard where a police officer noticed a handgun sitting on the front driver’s side seat with the safety off.

The operator of that vehicle was also questioned. He told police he drove to the area after hearing commotion down the block involving people he knew. He declined to give police permission to search the vehicle.

The handgun was seized for safekeeping, the warrant says. It was not clear whether that man was suspected of participating in the shooting as of Friday. No other items were taken from the second vehicle during a subsequent search, according to court records.

Three KCPD officers had been working off-duty security for the bar that night. Authorities have said those officers fired their guns after others were already engaged in shooting.

The highway patrol investigates shootings involving Kansas City police officers as a matter of official policy instituted in 2020. Kansas City police are also conducting a separate investigation of potential aggravated assault crimes stemming from the shooting.

Several details about the shooting remain unclear, including who shot first.

Also remaining to be seen is how Missouri’s Stand Your Ground law may factor in. Under the state law, a person has the right to use deadly force in certain situations in the course of defending oneself or another and is not obligated to retreat.

Meanwhile, family of Crawford say the 24-year-old man leaves behind a 3-year-old daughter. During an interview with The Star this week, Crawford’s sister said her brother was the type of person who looked out for others and that he was trying to help friends get to safety on the night he was killed.

“If you knew him you knew that he was the type who would look out for you no matter what,” Camille Crawford, 34, said during the interview, adding: “His light will be missing from the family. Now we are just trying to navigate the best we can.”

Camille Crawford has said the family has many unanswered questions about what happened that night and is calling for transparency in the investigation.