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Clearing up misinformation surrounding Chiefs parade shooting

The two shooting suspects are juveniles, granting them certain privacy protections, as mandated by law.
Clearing up misinformation surrounding Chiefs parade shooting
Posted at 9:18 AM, Feb 20, 2024

We know there's been a lot of information circulating online since the shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl victory rally.

We also know many of you have questions about the suspects, perhaps wondering why we, members of the media, aren't telling you more.

The simple answer to that? We can't tell what we don't know, and in this case, the reason we don't know more is because the suspects are minors.

To break down the process a little more, take a look at the graphic below illustrating what we do and don't know at this point.

Here's what we do know

We do know the two suspects are juveniles, meaning they're under the age of 18, which grants them certain protections.

Dawn Parsons, former Jackson County prosecutor turned defense attorney, explained the protections are mandated by law.

"And if you think about it, as a society, we want that," Parsons said. "Now, everyone wants to know their names now, but these are, for all intents and purposes, children. Children with guns, understood, but they have a whole life ahead of them, and they are entitled to due process as a juvenile."

As a result, their cases are in Jackson County Family Court, where both suspects are charged with gun possession and resisting arrest.

However, according to a family court news release, additional charges are expected.

The juveniles are currently in custody.

As far as what led to the shooting, KCPD Chief Stacey Graves shared last week a dispute led to the gunfire.

Here's what we don't know

We don't know the names of the suspects. Again, that's because such information is legally protected due to their age.

Likewise, we don't have access to mugshots to show you what they look like.

We also don't have details on exactly what police believe happened because we don't have access to what's known as a probable cause statement. Again, that's something that's not available to us in cases involving juveniles.

However, this could all change if the suspects are certified to stand trial as adults.

"Family court has a process, obviously, and they have what’s called a 'juvenile officer,' and that’s a court employee similar to a prosecutor," Parsons shared.

She added the juvenile officer filed a petition to the court alleging violations of the law. If the suspects are not certified as adults, then they would go through the juvenile system, offering them a chance for rehabilitation.

But some factors could convince a judge that's not the best option.

"They look at the seriousness of the offense ... whether the offense involved viciousness or force against a person, the record and history of the juvenile, the age of the juvenile," Parsons said. "Because if the juvenile is 17 years old and the goal is rehabilitation, right, there may not be a time to rehabilitate a 17-year-old by the time they get to 18 to serve the purposes of the juvenile system, so they might get kicked over to the adult system."

In this case, Parsons said since the charges will probably be upgraded to some form of homicide and some form(s) of assault, there will be an automatic certification hearing.

Should these individuals be certified as adults, much of the above information will be shareable with both the media and the public.

This story was originally published by Caitlin Knute at Scripps News Kansas City.

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