KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Authorities are searching an area near a Motel 6 in the Northland after sources say they believe the suspect in a quintuple shooting that killed three people tried to ditch a stolen SUV there.
Three people were killed and two critically injured in the shootings that took place Tuesday afternoon in a south Kansas City neighborhood.
Police sources say three separate houses were involved in what started as a home invasion: one person was shot in the first home, two people were shot in the second home and two people were shot in the third home. They don't believe the suspect knew the victims.
Shortly before 6 p.m. police swarmed an area in the Northland just off of Interstate 29 and south of Northwest Barry Road. Police sources tell KCTV5 that the suspect wanted in these shootings tried to dump a stolen SUV in the area and then carjack someone. It is believed that the suspect got into a scuffle with someone while trying to carjack them and then took off on foot.
Chopper5 flew over the scene and spotted the stolen SUV parked in a lot for the restaurant BC Bistro, located just up the road from the Motel 6.
The shootings happened just after 1 p.m. Tuesday on Woodbridge Lane just east of Wornall Road near East Blue Ridge Boulevard.
None of the victims are children, police say.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found one person dead inside a home and two other people critically wounded.
A short time later, police found two more people dead inside a nearby house.
Police said they are looking for a light-colored/tan 2002 Toyota Highlander with a Missouri license plate of KC5-A4X, which went missing from the scene.
With victim names still not released, people have been coming and going from the South Patrol Station, concerned about loved ones they haven't heard from. That includes Kathy Hurst and her husband, who got a call from Hurst's brother because her mother-in-law lives on the block.
"I thought I would just come on over there, saw the (crime) tape so close to the house...don't know what to think right now," Hurst said.
Hurst said her mother-in-law, Alice, is in her 80s. Her family knows Alice's schedule pretty well and she should have been home right about that time.
Officers blocked off the area around Wornall Road while they searched for a suspect. They went door-to-door looking for a suspect.
Police said they are assuring neighbors of their safety.
"At this point we don't have all of the details but, as usual, be vigilant, be aware, be cautious, be aware of your surroundings," said Sgt. Kari Thompson.
Thompson would not identify the victims or the suspected shooter, but would say that if there was an immediate threat to people in the area, they would let the public know.
Golfers who were playing at a nearby course were startled and scared when they heard the gunshots.
News of the deadly shootings and subsequent suspect search rippled amongst neighbors in the normally quiet subdivisions.
One woman said she has lived in the area for 50 years and has never seen more than a couple police on her street.
"I think it's so sad. We're all kind of neighbors coming out and pulling together because it's something we don't experience. This is such a quiet neighborhood," said Lois Vereecke.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker both arrived at the scene to speak with detectives.
The Lutheran High School of Kansas City, which is a mile from the crime scenes, kept students indoors as a precaution. School officials asked police if they should go on lockdown but were told that they didn't have to do so. Students who drove themselves to school were allowed to leave at the end of the day. Other students are being kept indoors until their parents pick them up.
A volleyball game is still scheduled to be played Tuesday night.
Center Middle School, which is at 103rd and Wornall, was placed on lockdown at 2:15 p.m. at the behest of police. The lockdown was lifted at 3 p.m. Rockhurst High School was on lockdown for about 15 minutes.
Park Hill School District said that, because the police notified them that they are searching for a potentially dangerous person in the area, Park Hill High School, Congress Middle School, the Gerner Family Early Education Center, Renner Elementary, Prairie Point Elementary, the Aquatic Center and the district office are on hold, meaning all exterior doors are locked. The Park Hill schools made all students who were outside the buildings come back inside.
The entire Kansas City Police Department is involved in the investigation. Surrounding cities are also offering resources.